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Broncos notes: McMahon blames himself for special teams issues

ROFR trial in Denver court brings in Kaiser widow as witness.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When the Broncos allowed Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week, it met a dubious distinction.

It was the fifth touchdown return (off punt or kickoff) the Broncos had allowed since the start of 2018, most in the NFL during that 50-game period. Tom McMahon has been the Broncos’ special team coordinator throughout that span and to his credit Friday, he did not make excuses or point blame at anyone but himself.

"What it comes down to is I’ve got do a better job of making sure they see every single thing during the week," McMahon said. "It breaks down in execution, and when execution breaks down—whether it’s leverage, whether it’s a missed tackle, whether it’s any part of that play—that’s 100 percent on me."

It has occurred to just about everyone in Broncos Country that the kickoff coverage issue can easily be solved by having kicker Brandon McManus boot the ball out of the end zone for touchbacks, especially during these next two weeks when the Broncos play Sunday against the New York Jets and the following Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens in the thin-air confines of Empower Field at Mile High.

But there is also a slight penalty for the touchback strategy as the opponent starts at their own 25 yard line. While that may beat the risk of a long return, kickoffs are also viewed as an opportunity to pin the opponent deeper into their own territory. Like back inside their own 20 or 15 or even 10-yard line.

"Let’s say there’s a minute left in a game and you want to run time off the clock," McMahon said, referring to a scenario where the Broncos are ahead. “Rather than kick a touchback, we’re going to keep the ball in play and try and get 10 seconds to run off. We’ve got to go cover that kick.

"That 10 seconds to keep away from these great quarterbacks is very, very important. There are times in games where there’s a certain amount of time left and you’re up by a bunch of points—you rely on a one-man kickoff team. Put that thing out the back. It’s all situational football."

Credit: AP Photo/Justin Edmonds
Denver Broncos guard Graham Glasgow lines up during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Oct.. 25, 2020, in Denver.

Purcell, Glasgow on probable side of questionable

Defensive tackle Mike Purcell (knee) and right guard Graham Glasgow (heart) are the only two Bronco players listed as questionable on the week’s final injury report for the Jets’ game. Fangio said he believes both will play. Glasgow was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday and as long as he doesn’t go through another heartbeat irregularity issue as he did two weeks ago during the Giants’ game, he’ll play Sunday against the Jets.

Credit: Courtesy: Susan Reilly
Dan Reilly, lead attorney for Broncos ownership, confers with Pat Bowlen trustees Mary Kelly and Rich Slivka outside Denver District Court room where Kaiser estate right of first refusal trial was held Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

ROFR Trial

There is the right to match any purchase bid the Broncos would receive if the team is put up for sale. And there is the ability to match.

Day 3 of the right of first refusal (ROFR) trial pitting the estate of Edgar J. Kaiser Jr. against the Broncos’ ownership partnership began with Kaiser’s widow Susan Mullen Kaiser testifying Friday morning by remote from her home in the state of Washington. Among the points Fennemore lawyer (representing the Broncos) John McHugh established was Kaiser’s net worth at the time of his death in January 2012 was $260,000.

McHugh asked Mrs. Kaiser if she was aware Forbes had valued the Broncos at $3.75 billion. After an objection from Kaiser estate lawyer Jim Kilroy was sustained by Denver District Court Judge Shelley I. Gilman, McHugh rephrased and Mrs. Kaiser did say funds outside of the Kaiser estate would likely be needed to execute a right of first refusal toward any potential offer.

The Broncos have not yet put the team up for sale. Joe Ellis, a Pat Bowlen trustee and the Broncos’ chief executive officer and president, has said the transition of team ownership from the Patrick D. Bowlen Trust to either one of Bowlen’s children -- likely Brittany Bowlen, Ellis has said -- or an outside investor would not begin until after the team completes its 2021 season. Which puts step one in the ownership transition to begin around February or March 2022 at the earliest.

Broncos lawyers initiated the ROFR lawsuit against the Kaiser estate in hopes Judge Gilman will terminate the agreement, which in turn would clear an impediment to a potential sale. The Broncos argue the right of first refusal agreement that was part of Kaiser’s sale of 60.8 percent general partnership of the Broncos to Bowlen in June 1984 no longer exists because both principals have since died and also the ROFR agreement was a personal one and limited to Kaiser and Bowlen only.

McHugh through his questioning of Mrs. Kaiser also established Kaiser’s ROFR Holdings company, which he established as a placeholder for the Broncos’ right of first refusal, did not specify who should get the shares of the company, and that ROFR Holdings dissolved in 2011 because it didn’t make the required annual filings from 2005-11. ROFR Holdings was reinstated on October 3, 2013, nearly 21 months after Kaiser died.

Kilroy during his questioning of Mrs. Kaiser pointed to another section in the ROFR Holdings document that stated the purpose of the company was to assure the right of first refusal with the Broncos would survive for the executors even after Kaiser’s death.

The trial is set to reconvene Monday morning in Judge Gilman’s Denver District Court room.

RELATED: Opening statements made in Broncos vs. Kaiser estate right of first refusal trial

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