Bowlen says McDaniels’ job is safe for now

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen says embattled coach Josh McDaniels‘ job is safe.

Yet, after telling AOL FanHouse that McDaniels would be back in 2011, Bowlen issued a statement Monday night that seemed to back off that a bit.

Bowlen’s statement said that while the season has been a trying and disappointing one, “Josh McDaniels is the head coach of the Broncos, and you always strive for stability at that position.”

He added that with five games left, “we will continue to monitor the progress of the team and evaluate what’s in the best interest of this franchise.”

Earlier, Bowlen told AOL, “I’m not interested in making a coaching change,” despite the team’s 5-16 slide and the embarrassing videotaping scandal that has rocked the franchise.

A message left with McDaniels on Monday night wasn’t immediately returned.

At his weekly news conference earlier in the day, McDaniels said he wasn’t dwelling on whether the Broncos‘ problems on and off the field would cost him his job.

“It’s not, you know, not my decision, not something that’s in my control,” McDaniels said. “I’m just going to worry about what I can focus on and try to control the things that I can control.”

Denver’s second-year coach said his only focus is on trying to salvage a 3-8 season sullied by a videotaping scandal that cost him and the team $50,000 each and resulted in a subordinate’s firing over the weekend.

In his interview with AOL FanHouse, Bowlen insisted McDaniels wasn’t involved with former videographer Steve Scarnecchia’s 6-minute videotape of the San Francisco 49ers’ walkthrough practice in London last month.

Josh had nothing to do with that. The former employee did it on his own. There was no direction from the head coach. Josh did not order it. We’re absolutely positive this was done by the former employee on his own,” Bowlen said.

He did not address McDaniels‘ failure to immediately notify his superiors or the league of his subordinate’s transgression, which is what cost him and the team a total of $100,000 in fines.

Bowlen said he was “very happy with Josh. Josh is doing a good job,” and insisted the Broncos could still make the playoffs.

They are four games behind AFC West leader Kansas City with five games to go and could be eliminated this weekend when they visit the Chiefs.

McDaniels has two years and nearly $7 million left on his contract, and Bowlen is still on the hook for millions more he owes Mike Shanahan, whom he fired last year. Were he to fire McDaniels, too, he’d be paying three head coaches next season.

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