John Elway will come out swinging

January, 2, 2011
1/02/11
12:39
PM ET
It is clear that John Elway is going to try to restore the luster of the Denver Broncos right away when he becomes the leader of the team’s football operations.

The most interesting part of Adam Schefter’s report that Elway has agreed to join the team -- a deal has been in the work for several weeks -- is that Elway will try to pursue Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh as head coach. Harbaugh is considered one of the top prizes available this offseason. He could also be pursued by his alma mater, Michigan.

Elway clearly has ties to Harbaugh. The former Stanford and Broncos star quarterback is going to be honorary captain for Stanford during the Orange Bowl on Monday. So, Elway will have plenty of time to make his pitch to Harbaugh.

Harbaugh is known as a motivator and as one of the bright, young offensive minds working today. The former NFL quarterback has a reputation as a quarterback guru, and that will be attractive to Denver, who has rookie quarterback Tim Tebow.

Denver’s target of Harbaugh means the Broncos will not be afraid to spend money to get the coach they want. The Denver Post reported that the team has reached a settlement with former coach Josh McDaniels, who was fired in December. That means Denver, which also owes former coach Mike Shanahan some money in 2011, may have more money to play with.

If will be interesting to see if Denver continues think big if it can’t hire Harbaugh. Big-name coaches such as Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden (who is a Tebow fan) may require more power than Harbaugh.

It is clear Elway is running this team with help from current general manager Brian Xanders.

Elway has to prove he can make the transition from superstar player to successful front-office type. Targeting Harbaugh shows Elway is going to have the same gun-slinging approach to running a team that he had running an offense.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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