Broncos general manager John Elway attempted to bring Mike Shanahan to Denver after the 2017 regular season, Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette reported on Monday.
According to Paige, Elway and Shanahan met in secret last year and "seriously discussed" a deal that would put Shanahan back as the team's head coach. Vance Joseph, the Broncos' current coach, had gone 5–11 during his first season on the job and is 6–8 so far in 2018. Elway was reportedly ready to replace Joseph with Shanahan, who led the Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998.
One source told Paige that Shanahan was “so close” to being the Broncos coach in 2018 before CEO Joe Ellis refused to agree to fire Joseph and hire Shanahan.
Paige also noted that Shanahan had meetings of his own with quarterback Kirk Cousins about a potential reunion in Denver. Shanahan coached Cousins with the Washington Redskins. Cousins ultimately signed with the Minnesota Vikings this past offseason.
When asked about the reports during Monday's media availability, Joseph said he paid little attention to them.
"To be honest, that's the least of my worries is an article," Joseph said, according to The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala. "There have been worse things written about me I'm assuming. That's not my concern. My concern is the football team, the coaches and you know we have a big game Monday night. That's my concern. As far as what's written, what's being said, I can't worry about that. It's nonsense."
Shanahan coached the Broncos from 1995-2008 and posted a 138-86 record in his 14 seasons with the team. After being fired by Ellis, Shanahan spent four years coaching the Redskins and led them to a 24-40 record.
Shanahan has not coached in the NFL since 2013.