Elway Alone

May 2003

5280: Were you upset that it became a newspaper story? JE: No. I knew it would. Early in my career, I tried to battle against that kind of thing, but as I matured, I realized that no matter what I said, that's the way it's going to be.

I was a little bit angered that Janet talked about it. But that was up to her. But my choice was that this isn't something I'm going to talk about in public.

5280: I've always thought it was interesting that, despite being a Denver icon, you've always been a pretty private guy. There were other guys who played their lives out on the stage, but you never did. JE: The football field was my stage.

I look at myself, and I realize that God gave me a great gift to play football. I enjoyed it and loved it and played it as hard as I could. But I always realized that being a good quarterback wasn't any different than being a good attorney, or a good reporter, or whatever. That was the gift that God gave me. My job was to do the best that I could with that gift. Other people have their gifts. The only difference between me and a great accountant was that my job was on TV. I never looked at myself as being better than anyone else. I just tried to do my job the best I could.

So if that's how I see life, why would I expect my relationships off the field to be treated any differently than anyone else? Off the field, my relationships with people weren't as a Denver Bronco, they were me as an individual.

5280: And yet, you did have an influence off the field. For instance, people have often said that if you had retired a year earlier, Invesco Field might not have been built. JE: I've heard that, too. But honestly, that had nothing to do with my decision to play one more year.

I did think about retiring after that first Super Bowl win. I talked to my Dad and I told him, "You have to be the one who's telling me if I'm slipping, or if I can't play this game anymore. You're going to be the guy I'm going to come to because you know football as well as anybody and you know me as well as anybody."

We sat down one night and he said, "You know, John, you can still play this game. It's just a matter of whether you're willing to go through physically what you'll have to do to get ready to play."

When he said that, that was what made my mind up to come back. And I'm glad I did it. I was able to go through that season knowing that it was my last year. I was able to step back and enjoy everything, knowing that it would be my last time around. So by the time that season ended, and we did win it, I knew that it was time to walk away.

5280: The other political thing that came up was that after that second Super Bowl win, you didn't go with the rest of the team to meet President Clinton. The rap was that it was because you're a Republican. Any truth to that? JE: No, none. It had nothing to do with Clinton, or anything like that. I was scheduled to have an MRI that morning, and that was where I needed to be. There was no disrespect intended toward President Clinton.