Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was back at team headquarters on Saturday -- his first visit to a practice session there since his firing in 2008 by then-owner Pat Bowlen.
The winningest coach in franchise history, with a 146-91 record that included playoff competition capped by two Super Bowl titles in 14 seasons with Denver, checked out the Broncos' morning practice at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colo.
"I was glad to have Mike here," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "I invited him. I'm glad he could come. I invited him for the spring work, and the schedules never matched up, but I was glad he was here. I think it was good he was here. Mike's got a big part in the rich history of this franchise. He's welcome to come here any time he wants."
According to Fangio, he and Shanahan have been familiar with each other, but more "as competitors. ... We've gotten to know each other the last five, eight years."
Shanahan also met during practice with his former quarterback John Elway, who is now the team's general manager and helped arrange the visit with offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.
Scangarello had previously worked with Shanahan's son Kyle when they were with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.
Afterward, he went inside the team's facility to reunite with staff members such as defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper (drafted by the Broncos in 2006), who were there during his coaching reign.
The Denver connections have remained since Shanahan departed, and he has attended several functions and ceremonies honoring the team. Now 66, he also had NFL stints as a head coach with the Oakland Raiders (1988-89) and Washington Redskins (2010-13).
Shanahan nearly had a chance to return to the Broncos as head coach when Elway considered firing head coach Vance Joseph in January 2018.
However, Elway's idea to bring back Shanahan was not supported by Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, who wanted a full coaching search conducted if the team were to move on from Joseph, who was hired in January 2017. Elway considered that option before deciding to keep Joseph.
Joseph remained one more season, finishing 6-10 in 2018, before he was fired and replaced on Jan. 10 by Fangio.
--Field Level Media