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His players stress they believe Gase will become a head coach, but right now they don’t want him going anywhere.

“When I first got to Denver, Adam Gase was my wide receiver coach,” Demaryius Thomas said. “I learned so much from him, not just about receiving, but football in general. I came from the triple option and he taught me so much.

“He’s a great coordinator and he can be a great (head coach).”

Del Rio, who replaced John Fox and went 3-1 this season while Fox was recovering from heart surgery, was interviewed in Denver by Southern Cal just before Fox was stricken. But the Trojans eventually hired Steve Sarkisian away from the University of Washington.

Unlike Gase, Quinn and Bevell, Del Rio played in the NFL - he was a top-level linebacker for more than a decade - went 69-73 in just under nine seasons as the Jaguars’ head man. Fox hired him in 2012 to replace Dennis Allen, who had left to coach the Raiders.

Del Rio hasn’t exactly been seeking out another head coaching gig, but he won’t shy away if an offer comes.

“There certainly are opportunities each and every year, and at some point it will match up with what somebody’s looking for and what I offer,” he said. “In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of my opportunity here to fight and find a way to win a world championship. I’m not going to spend a lot of time wondering if there was a lot of talk, a little talk or those types of things.”

Nor do his Broncos defenders want to spend time wondering what it would be like without him.

“He’s here, we’re playing for him in the Super Bowl,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “And I think he’s helped us play some real good ball.”

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org