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Pat Bowlen is stepping down as owner of the Denver Broncos after acknowledging that he has Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Denver Post, the longtime owner is resigning to focus on his health and team president Joe Ellis will assume control of the team.
"It's a really, really sad day," said Ellis, who has been with the team since 2011. "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."
In 2011, Bowlen had given up some daily aspects of running the organization to Ellis and revealed then that he had short-term memory issues since 2009. The memory issues eventually progressed into Alzheimer’s.
The team now belongs to the Pat Bowlen Trust as the intent is to keep ownership in his family.
The 70-year-old has been the team owner for three decades and is tied with San Diego Chargers’ Alex Spanos as the league’s fourth-longest-tenured owner.
USA Today noted that, since purchasing the team in 1984 from Edgar Kaiser, the franchise has had 300 victories and six Super Bowls appearances. The team won its first of two championships in 1997 and 1998.