Mike Shanahan: I 'was close' to returning to coach Broncos in 2018

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Former <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/denver/" data-ylk="slk:Denver Broncos">Denver Broncos</a> coach Mike Shanahan said he nearly came out of retirement to coach the team again in 2018. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)
Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he nearly came out of retirement to coach the team again in 2018. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Mike Shanahan has a long, storied history with the Denver Broncos.

Shanahan led the organization to a pair of Super Bowl titles during his tenure from 1995-2008, racking up nine winning seasons and seven playoff appearances during that time.

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Though Shanahan officially retired after a four-year stint with the Washington Redskins in 2013, the longtime coach nearly made a return to the organization that helped define his career last year.

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Shanahan said that he had multiple conversations with Broncos president John Elway about coming out of retirement and coaching the team again after the 2017 season, when Vance Joseph went 5-11 in his first year at the helm.

It just didn't quite come to fruition.

“I was close, I was close,'” Shanahan said, via ESPN. “One thing that has to happen is you all have to be on the same page. One thing you've got to make sure of when you are a head football coach that the owner, the GM, the quarterback are all on the same page. And if it doesn't happen the chances of you winning the Super Bowl aren't very good.

“I had a great conversation with John as everybody knows, it didn't work out, sometimes it works out for the right reasons.'”

Instead, the Broncos stuck with Joseph in 2018. But after a 6-10 record, they cut ties with the Joseph, hiring Vic Fangio earlier this year instead.

Despite not electing to bring Shanahan back, Elway said he has a great relationship with the former coach. He even had Shanahan attend multiple practices this summer — his first time back with the team since being fired after the 2008 season.

“Mike's always been a big part of this organization,'” Elway said, via ESPN. “And it's nice to get him back out, in my mind it was never really closed, but it was nice to get the communication back. I've played some golf with Mike ... it's always good to see him out here because I always enjoy talking football with him ... glad he was able to come back and know that this is home to him.'”

Shanahan compiled a 146-91 overall record over 20 seasons with three different organizations in the NFL, and is currently the Broncos’ winningest head coach.

Though it was tough to leave the game when he did, Shanahan said he stands by his decision more than five years later.

“You always miss coaching, but it's been five years,” Shanahan said, via ESPN. “I made the decision a long time ago, right when I got fired (by the Redskins), I said if I didn't get the right job right away, where you had a chance to win a Super Bowl, that I was probably going to do what I'm doing, being a dad, kind of following your son, the organization, being a part of it.'”

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