Elway invites former coach to Hall induction
DENVER -- With his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame approaching, former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has reconciled with former coach Dan Reeves, with whom he famously sparred.
The healing began after Elway invited Reeves to the induction ceremony Aug. 8.
"It never crossed my mind not to invite him," Elway told The Denver Post. "Time heals everything. Those types of things, those little problems, you just can't let them linger. They add up. Bitterness is no way to go through life. There are absolutely no ill feelings on my part toward Dan. I'm looking forward to seeing him."
Reeves coached Elway for 10 of the quarterback's 16 seasons in the NFL, but their relationship was strained after three Super Bowl losses from 1987 to 1990.
Elway said he felt inhibited in Reeves' offensive system. Their relationship worsened after the 1990 season, when Reeves attempted to trade Elway without first telling him.
So it was an emotional moment when Reeves received an invitation to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony, Reeves told The Post.
"I was thrilled, to say the least," said Reeves. "I had no way of knowing. I don't care about the past. You've got to move forward. I've always felt that way. I can't wait to see a great player going into the Hall of Fame."
Reeves said he called Elway after receiving the invitation to make sure it was OK for him to attend.
"He told me he made the list and he wanted all the people who played a part in him getting there to be there, and he certainly wanted me there," Reeves said. "It definitely felt good to hear that. I was just elated."
Under Reeves, Elway completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 158 touchdowns, compared to 60 percent completions and 142 touchdowns in the six seasons after Reeves left.
Elway said he sometimes wonders how Reeves affected his career statistics but that he has come to appreciate his former coach over time.
Winning two Super Bowls also helped.
"Once I did that, it helped me feel different about things," said Elway, 44. "I don't hold any grudges, any ill feelings toward him. The bottom line is we won a lot of football games when he was here. We didn't see eye to eye, but I still think he's a great football coach."