A passionate John Elway reinforced his support of his own Broncos quarterbacks Thursday by emphatically refuting a report that had him seeking a trade for Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron.

During the Denver Broncos pregame show on Channel 20, Elway was asked why he felt compelled to strongly denounce the report of his interest in McCarron, even using the phrase, “fake news.’’

“Because it was not true,’’ he said. “It’s flat out not true. We have not talked to anybody in Cincinnati. That has not been on our radar screen at all. Any time reports come out like that that are absolutely not true, they have an effect on our football team. I want to make sure that everyone understands that that’s not true so that’s why we came out as hard as we did.’’

Elway added he also wanted to make sure his two quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, understand management has not lost confidence in them.

“I’m excited about Trevor and Paxton and the way they’ve been working,’’ Elway said. “We feel good about them. We’re still in the process of what we talked about, what our plan was to get them through the preseason and then see what we have there.

“When those things come out like that, those are the type of things that can get on your football team, especially those two guys and we wanted to let them know we’re happy with their progress.’’

After the report surfaced Wednesday, Elway took to Twitter and stated: “Rumor of us being interested in anyone other than the QBs we have is another example of irresponsible, fake news!!’’

Siemian appears to be leading the competition for starting quarterback in the Broncos’ regular-season opener, Sept. 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“He’s very cerebral and very smart,’’ Elway said. “There’s always a transformation coming from an old offense to a new one and it takes a long time. Especially as we get into training camp and more is put on the plate for these players.’’

As for Lynch, it was put to Elway directly: The second-year former first-round draft pick seemed to be struggling in training camp, although he would get a chance to redeem himself in the preseason opener Thursday against the Chicago Bears.

“He’s young,’’ Elway said. “His first year, he played in two games last year. I’m telling you, as a young quarterback it’s not easy coming into this league, especially as a first rounder and trying to live up to expectations. He’s worked his tail off. He’s done a good job.

“It’s hard to tell in camp practice what you have because a lot of times Paxton will be the guy who will get out and make a play with his legs and those get blown dead in practice. That’s why it’s great we’re starting preseason tonight and we’ll see how far he’s progressed.’’