NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

No room for Brian Xanders in Denver

May, 7, 2012
5/07/12
8:35
PM ET

The three-man leadership structure is Denver is down to two.

General manager Brian Xanders is no longer with the team.

Denver leader John Elway and Xanders told the Denver Post that the team and Xanders have mutually parted ways. Elway told the paper the Broncos are streamlining their leadership structure and Xanders will not be replaced.

I think the move was made because Elway is comfortable in his role. The legendary quarterback became Denver’s primary football decision maker in Jan. 2011.

Elway released this statement:
“Brian deserves a tremendous amount of credit and recognition for the contributions he made to the Broncos during his four years with the organization. His hard work and dedication played a major role in the recent success of our team, most notably last season’s division title and playoff win.

“Brian and I had a very productive conversation earlier today. Although it was an extremely difficult decision, it became clear that it was best for both the Broncos and Brian to part ways. I believe a change to the structure of our football operations will be mutually beneficial, allowing the department to improve its efficiency while affording Brian the opportunity to continue his promising career with another NFL team.

“My responsibility to the Broncos and our fans is to build a championship football team. The setup we have throughout every phase of our football operations will better position us for success going forward.

“Making a change with someone of Brian’s caliber is not easy. I thank him for everything he did for the Broncos and wish him all the best as he continues his career.”

In the past year it became clear the Broncos were top heavy. Elway and coach John Fox have a terrific working relationship and there is a great comfort level between the two.

Simply put, there just wasn’t enough for Xanders to do. Elway is essentially the general manager and Xanders’ role was decreasing. After a little more than a year into the Elway-Fox relationship, the Broncos felt comfortable moving on with a smaller leadership core.

Mike Shanahan brought in Xanders in 2008 and was promoted to general manager early in the Josh McDaniels’ era in 2009. When Elway became the leader in Denver, Xanders’ future was clear.

This decision is another sign that the Broncos are Elway's team.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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