When the Denver Broncos take the field to begin training camp on Thursday, they will do so with heavy hearts.
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has given up control of the team after revealing that he is battling Alzheimer’s disease. The Denver Post first reported the news.
Bowlen, who turned 70 in February, has placed his ownership in the Pat Bowlen Trust, which is owned by non-family members. Team president Joe Ellis will assume control of the team in Bowlen’s absence and will have final-say authority.
“It’s a really, really sad day,” Ellis said, via the Denver Post. “It’s sad for his family, his wife and his seven children. It’s sad for everyone in the organization. And it’s sad for all the Bronco fans who know what Pat Bowlen meant to them as an owner. It’s a day nobody wanted to see happen.”
The Post confirmed that the Broncos would not be put up for sale, and that Bowlen’s long-term goal is to have one of his seven children assume ownership when they are ready.
Bowlen admitted in May 2009 that he was experiencing short-term memory loss, but Tuesday marked his first public acknowledgment that he has Alzheimer’s.
“Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner,” Pat’s wife, Annabel, said in a statement. “My family is deeply saddened that Pat’s health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition.”
Bowlen owned the Broncos for 30 years after purchasing the team from Edgar Kaiser in 1984.