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Elway says he and search group flew in during middle of night for Flores interview

Elway said characterization in Flores lawsuit was "hurtful and just plain wrong."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — John Elway has fired back at claims former Broncos head coaching candidate Brian Flores made in a lawsuit he filed this week in a United States District Court. 

Elway, in a statement sent to 9NEWS, said Flores’ claims were not only hurtful, they were inaccurate.

“While I was not planning to respond publicly to the false and defamatory claims by Brian Flores, I could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked.

“I took Coach Flores very seriously as a candidate for our head coaching position in 2019 and enjoyed our three-and-a-half hour interview with him. Along with the rest of our group, I was prepared, ready and fully engaged during the entire interview as Brian shared his experience and vision for our team. 

“It’s unfortunate and shocking to learn for the first time this week that Brian felt differently about our interview with him.

“For Brian to make an assumption about my appearance and state of mind early that morning was subjective, hurtful and just plain wrong. If I appeared “disheveled,” as he claimed, it was because we had flown in during the middle of the night—immediately following another interview in Denver—and were going on a few hours of sleep to meet the only window provided to us.

“I interviewed Brian in good faith, giving him the same consideration and opportunity as every other candidate for our head coaching position in 2019.”

Point 21 in Flores' complaint against the NFL, the Giants, Dolphins, Broncos and 29 other teams refers to the Broncos' head coaching interview with Flores, then a defensive coach with the New England Patriots, in 2019.

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"Incredibly, this (Giants' head coach interview earlier this week) was not Mr. Flores’ first sham interview that was held only in an effort to comply with the Rooney Rule. Indeed, in 2019 Mr. Flores was scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos’ then-GM, John Elway, President and CEO Joe Ellis and others, showed up an hour late to the interview.

"They looked completely disheveled and it was obvious that they had been drinking heavily the night before. It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job. Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a white man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos."

The Broncos, and now specifically Elway, denied Flores' claims, beginning with the fact the early-morning meeting started on time.

“The allegations from Brian Flores directed toward the Denver Broncos in today’s court filing are blatantly false,’’ the Broncos responded Tuesday. “Our interview with Mr. Flores regarding our head coaching position began promptly at the scheduled time of 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2019, in a Providence, R.I., hotel. There were five Broncos executives present for the interview, which lasted approximately three-and-a-half hours—the fully allotted time—and concluded shortly before 11 a.m.

“Pages of detailed notes, analysis and evaluations were taken from our interview that demonstrate the depth of our conversation and sincere interest in Mr. Flores as a head coaching candidate.

“Our process was thorough and fair to determine the most qualified candidate for our head coaching position. The Broncos will vigorously defend the integrity and values of our organization—and its employees—from such baseless and disparaging claims.”

Sources also told 9NEWS that Ellis was in Boston attending to a personal matter on January 4 and started his drive to Providence at 6 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 for the interview with Flores and that the Broncos’ president was early for the interview.

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