- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - Hall of Famer John Elway is embarking on another comeback.

The beloved quarterback who led the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances and back-to-back championships before retiring in 1999 returned to the team’s Dove Valley headquarters Wednesday to begin restoring the franchise’s tarnished image and bringing back its winning ways.

Team owner Pat Bowlen said he expects his new chief football executive to lead the Broncos to more Super Bowls and joked this time, Elway can tell him: “This one’s for Pat!”

“I can’t think of a better job and a better guy to do that job than John Elway, and I look forward to great things in the future,” said Bowlen, who famously declared, “This one’s for John!” following the Broncos' upset of the Green Bay Packers in the 1997 Super Bowl.

“I think John will return this team to a very high level of competitiveness,” Bowlen said. “I think we’ll win some more Super Bowls.”

Elway, who retired with an NFL-record 47 comeback drives, said he was ready for this enormous challenge.

“I do not know everything about this job, but I cannot wait to learn as much as I can about the job,” he said. “I am thrilled to be back with the Broncos, I am thrilled to be back in football. I get on the football field and it makes my heart pump.”

Elway’s first task is leading the search for a new coach to replace Josh McDaniels, whose 22-month misadventure left the Broncos embarrassed and in need of a major makeover.

“Why am I here? I love the Broncos,” Elway said. “I understand what the Broncos are all about. They are about the integrity, about the winning and about the things that you do and how you handle yourself.”

Elway has interviews set up with three coaching candidates so far and hopes to talk Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh into applying, too.

He will meet with Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey in Atlanta on Friday night, then fly back to Denver to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Broncos interim head coach Eric Studesville on Sunday.

Studesville went 1-3 after being promoted from running backs coach upon McDaniels‘ Dec. 6 ouster.

Elway, 50, said he feels like a rookie all over again but insisted he should get up to speed quickly based on his experience growing up as the son of a football coach, playing for 16 seasons in the NFL and running an arena league team for six seasons.

“I know what I don’t know,” Elway said, promising to surround himself with a good team in Denver like the one he led to Super Bowl titles following the 1997 and ‘98 seasons.

He said he’s already sought the advice of former NFL executive Ernie Accorsi, who drafted him in Baltimore _ and traded him to Denver _ and was Cleveland’s GM when Elway engineered “The Drive” in the 1987 AFC championship game to beat the Browns.

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