BRONCOS

Evero chose loyalty to his friend Hackett over being Broncos’ interim head coach

Dec 28, 2022, 9:06 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 4:49 pm

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There’s an old cliche about how it’s not important to be the first choice — just the last choice.

Jerry Rosburg wasn’t the first option to become the Broncos’ interim head coach. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero got the first crack. But Evero and the now-deposed coach, Nathaniel Hackett, go back two decades. They were teammates at UC Davis in the early 2000s. They coached together on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ staff under Jon Gruden several years later.

And because of that bond, Evero wasn’t going to take the job that the Broncos took away from his friend.

Broncos general manager George Paton turned to Rosburg, of course. Not long after, Paton turned to Evero — and spoke to him with a sense of admiration.

“I told him how I respected his decision because of his loyalty and relationship with Nathaniel,” Rosburg said. My feeling is if that had happened to me with another close friend of mine in my career, I hope I would have done the same thing, but it’s not an easy thing to do.

“I think he should be recognized for magnanimous act that he did.”

Evero is a coach on the rise, to be certain. The success of Denver’s defense prior to last Sunday’s debacle will provide him opportunities at some point. But there is no guarantee he will ever get the chance to be a head coach again. A two-game audition might have helped his cause toward that potential goal.

However, he chose loyalty to his friend.

“Frankly, there are a lot of people who want to be standing up here,” Rosburg said. “He’s highly qualified and he deserved the opportunity to say, ‘Yes.’

“He chose to say, ‘No.’ So, that’s why I’m standing before you.”

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Evero chose loyalty to his friend Hackett over being Broncos’ interim head coach