John Elway was surprised that Brock Osweiler's feelings were hurt over benching

John Elway finally commented on Brock Osweiler's reported reasons for leaving Denver for Houston.

"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinion of sheep."

This quote has been repeated and re-purposed over and over again by countless people, but it may not apply better than it does to the Duke of Denver, John Elway. Elway has allowed Pro-Bowl players to walk without batting an eye, he's watched key pieces of his team leave for dollar amounts he was unwilling to pay, replaced them with cheaper options and watched his team enjoy success that the Denver Broncos haven't seen since he hung up his cleats 17 years ago.

As the architect of the Super Bowl 50 Champion Broncos and arguably the greatest defense in NFL history, not to mention one of the greatest college and professional quarterbacks of all time, Elway has been no stranger to difficult situations, whether that be his draft debacle, or leading his team on a 98-yard drive to tie and eventually win the AFC Championship game on the road. John Elway has seen and done it all which has continued in his second job with the Broncos. In the past six months, Elway has watched his team win the Super Bowl in convincing fashion, followed by the retirement of the future Hall of Fame QB he brought in to bring a Championship back to Denver and the exit of what he thought was his franchise quarterback.

A rare loss for the Duke, Elway and the Broncos were left shocked, outbid by the Houston Texans and betrayed by a player whom they thought was one of their own. In the ensuing months, there were murmurs of Brock Osweiler's displeasure with being benched in the team's crucial Week 17 matchup against the San Diego Chargers.

The team's decision to turn the team back to Peyton Manning further strained the relationship. The Broncos then reportedly tabled contract negotiations to allow Manning a wide berth to contemplate his eventual retirement, a decision which further strained Denver's relationship with Osweiler. This was followed by his departure via free agency. Osweiler has spurned the team on multiple occasions.

Elway has been generally quiet on the matter, commenting that "we only want players who want to be here", referring to Osweiler's decision to sign with Houston. Reports surfaced after Brock's departure, suggesting the quarterback didn't want to play in Manning's and Elway's shadow.

Talking to the Denver Post about the expectations for the defending Super Bowl champions, Broncos general manager John Elway admitted that he was taken aback with how Osweiler handled the demotion.

"I can understand that he didn't want to sit down and have Peyton come back in that San Diego game, but it wasn't the fact that Brock was playing bad," Elway said. "We needed a change of something. So I was a little surprised just how he seemed to be a little bent out of shape about that. But he had an opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money in Houston, and for us, it just didn't fit."

Since the messy breakup, Elway has moved on, trading a conditional seventh round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Mark Sanchez, the presumptive starter to begin the Broncos title defense. He also traded up in the draft to select promising Memphis gunslinger Paxton Lynch to join Sanchez and second-year player Trevor Siemian.

Elway's executive career is mirroring his playing days—he takes hits, gets back up and makes comebacks. He was the best to ever do it as a quarterback and so far his second act has failed to disappoint.

UPDATE: Brock Osweiler, in an interview via the Houston Chronicle, responded to John Elway's statement thusly. 

"The only thing I would say is what kind of competitor wouldn't want to play in that situation?" Osweiler said, per The Houston Chronicle."Outside of that, I think I've answered all of those questions. We're now in August, we just had a great training camp practice and I'm excited to play the 49ers coming up."

Khalid Alshami is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @KhalidHAlshami. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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