BRONCOS

Reports: Jerry Rosburg will not return to the Denver Broncos — or will he?

Jan 25, 2023, 4:16 PM | Updated: 4:56 pm

How will history record Jerry Rosburg’s time with the Denver Broncos?

It’s likely to be as a mere footnote affixed to the most disappointing season in team history.

Still, Rosburg himself wasn’t a disappointment after coming out of football retirement. He did the jobs asked of him, and he did them well — first as a game-management consultant, and then as interim head coach. In the former role, he cleaned up the Broncos’ on-field procedure. The timing penalties, decision-making snafus and slow pre-snap process all vanished. And in the latter role, he fired two coaches, changed the offensive play-caller, made some depth-chart shuffles and — voila! — the Broncos averaged 27.5 points per game and went .500 against two playoff-bound teams.

But that is where Rosburg’s story with the Broncos concludes — or maybe it doesn’t?

Wednesday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Broncos would not bring back the 67-year-old coach. Thus, Rosburg is expected to return to his work with Next Gen Hyperbaric, a task of which he spoke passionately and proudly during his fortnight as interim head coach.

HOWEVER …

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Rosburg “may be back in Denver with new leadership.”

According to an ESPN report, Broncos ownership granted Rosburg an audience shortly after the season. During that meeting, Rosburg spelled out his plan if he were to become head coach.

Frankly, Rosburg should have value to any new head coach. Denver’s special teams rose from the bottom of Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings in his two weeks as interim head coach. The unit even forced its first takeaway of the season.

It is not without precedent for an interim coach to remain through a transition. Eric Studesville remained with the Broncos for seven seasons as running backs coach after a 4-game interim stint to conclude the 2010 season. Jim Tomsula stayed on with the San Francisco 49ers under Jim Harbaugh from 2011-14 after finishing the 2010 campaign as the 49ers’ interim boss.

So maybe the Rosburg story isn’t over?

If it is, his legacy will be an immediately-improved team and press conferences filled with wisdom and thoughtfulness.

Oh, those press conferences. Those will be missed.

***

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Reports: Jerry Rosburg will not return to the Denver Broncos — or will he?