John Elway clarifies 'soft' comments, says he'd put himself 'first in line'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway has tossed himself into the crowd of people he said had gotten "a little bit soft'' during the team's current six-game losing streak.

Elway's comments Tuesday came after he had four days to consider what he had said. He received public criticism for the comments, including from notable players in the Broncos' locker room such as linebacker Brandon Marshall and cornerback Chris Harris Jr.

"I was talking about everybody in the organization. ... Sometimes success will make you soft and you won't pay attention to some of the details that you need to pay attention to," Elway said in an interview with Orange and Blue 760. "And I'd put myself first in line there."

Elway added: "I knew before I said it that some guys weren't gonna like it."

Speaking after an event Friday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Elway first made the comments that reverberated throughout the organization. The Broncos are 3-7 and in last place in the AFC West.

"I think at this point we're still trying to figure out how we can get through it," Elway said Friday night. "So there's no question at the end of the year we'll evaluate it and we'll look back and see what happened. But I will tell you I think we got a little bit soft. To be dead honest with you, we got a little bit soft. We went 4-0 in the preseason, we started out 3-1, then we get a bye week, and if you exhale in this league, you're in trouble.

"To be dead honest with you, I think we exhaled, and it's hard to recover from that. So it'll be a lesson that hopefully we all learned and can prevent it from happening again."

The Broncos were 3-1 after a Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders, had a bye week and then lost at home to the previously winless New York Giants. The Broncos haven't won since.

Marshall said Monday he believed he could "respectfully disagree'' with Elway and believed the word "soft" was the wrong way to describe what's happened. Harris said after Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that "everybody in this organization is accountable for the way we're playing right now."