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DENVER - The man who led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories talked about the 21 years he spent with Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.

Former Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan reacted to Wednesday's announcement that the 70-year-old is giving up control of the team to deal with Alzheimer's disease.

"Well anytime you have something like that happen you reflect back on all the time you spent together," Shanahan said. "Very seldom as a football coach are you with someone for 21 years."

Shanahan got the head coach position with the Broncos in 1995, after his success with 49ers. He came to the team a month before Bowlen.

"I wasn't sure I had a job; if he was going to make changes," he said. "My wife was back in Florida at that time, and I said 'don't sell the house yet. We have a new owner, and I'm not sure if he's going to keep the head coach and the assistant coaches.' So, that's when I first got to know Pat."

Shanahan said Bowlen cares about his players.

"First thing I asked for was to be able to go to a hotel and not have players share a room the night before a game. At that time it was $30,000 or $40,000, and he said 'sure, if it's going to help us win,' Shanahan recalled. "The things that at that time people didn't do, he did without hesitation. You always knew he was going to give you the opportunity to do something to help the players."

The former head coach said Bowlen's family is handling the situation as best as they can.

"Well, I think it's tough anytime you go through something like that, but they're tough. I know they are going to make it the best they can possibly be," he said. "I know Pat would be happy with the way the family is handling it, and I think you just keep your fingers crossed that it turns out alright."

The Broncos say the ownership of the team is held in a trust in hopes that one of Bowlen's children will run the team one day.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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