ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos made their first significant move toward the 2014 season Thursday when they agreed to terms with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on a new two-year contract.
Del Rio, whose first two-year deal with the team was set to expire following this past Sunday's Super Bowl, served as the Broncos interim head coach for four games this past season when John Fox had open-heart surgery.
The Broncos went 3-1 in those games as the Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs twice as well as the San Diego Chargers. The loss came to New England in overtime when the Patriots got into position to kick the game-winning field goal when a punt hit cornerback Tony Carter in the leg.
Del Rio got the Broncos in the top five in almost every major defensive category in the league in 2012, including tied for the league lead in sacks. This past season the Broncos didn't have linebacker Von Miller for the first six games of the season because of a suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
And things didn't get much easier; by the time the Broncos advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII there were five defensive starters, including Miller, on injured reserve.
Still, the Broncos defense played one of its more inspired games early in the Super Bowl when it limited the Seahawks to an 8-0 lead despite all of Denver's early troubles on offense. The Seahawks offense didn't get its first touchdown until a pass interference call put the ball at the 1-yard line early in the second quarter.
"I thought the plays that we practiced for and the personnel groupings we practiced for were pretty much on the money," Del Rio said following the game. "It wasn't a surprise from that standpoint. I don't think anybody in this group thought that the game was going to end up being played quite like that. It's why we play them, though."
The Broncos began talking to Del Rio, who interviewed for the USC head-coaching job during the Broncos' bye week, as soon as team officials returned to Denver early this week. Del Rio retained agent Bob LaMonte, who also represents Fox and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, in recent months.
Del Rio said during Super Bowl week he expected to be, and wanted to be, a head coach in the NFL again. But he also said he enjoyed working for the Broncos and being on Fox's staff.
"When there's a match, it will happen," Del Rio said. "But I've enjoyed my time with the Broncos and I am totally committed to this team in this role."