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John Elway Has No Right To Complain

Denver Broncos Executive John Elway has taken the high road in the loss of Elvis Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Elway released a statement on the news that former Denver Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil was signing a contract with the Baltimore Ravens. A copy of his statement is posted in a story on SB Nation's blog on the Broncos, Mile High Report.

However, if Elway had any thought of showing any displeasure with the system that allowed a fax snafu to make Dumervil an unexpected free agent, he should only look 30 years into the past when he took advantage of the system himself as the top pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.

The Baltimore Colts, who were one of the worst teams in the league in 1982, earned the right to have the first pick in the following year's draft and selected Elway out of Stanford University. Elway said he had no intention to play for the struggling franchise that had been torn down from the poor management of GM Joe Thomas and frequently drunken owner Bob Irsay.

Elway said he would turn to Major League Baseball, where he had been a draft choice of the Kansas City Royals and was now property of the New York Yankees. He didn't want to play for a loser, much less their hard-nosed head coach Frank Kush, whom Elway knew from Stanford's games against the Arizona State Sun Devils, where Kush had previously coached.

The Colts knew Elway had them backed into a corner, so they reluctantly traded him to the Denver Broncos for their first pick in the draft (offensive tackle Chris Hinton), QB Mark Hermann and Denver's first round pick in the following year's draft (OG Ron Solt). Who? Exactly.

The rest is history, as Elway went onto become one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and a Denver legend. Having him return as the team's Executive Director of Football Operations was a match made in heaven for the team and its fans, as he is held in the highest regard for his football legacy and knowledge.

If he were to complain about the recent Dumervil fiasco, one would only have to regurgitate his quick exodus from a Baltimore football future as evidence that this is a similar situation of a player being able to buck the system through a technicality of the rules.

Broncos fans will disagree, stating correctly, that the rules are a lot different now than they were three decades ago. There was no free agency back then, so the Colts could have stuck to their guns, lost the services of Elway but prevented him from playing in the NFL as they held his rights.

Could you imagine what the history of the Colts, the Broncos and even the New York Yankees might have been if Elway never became the Hall of Fame QB?