John Elway gets close look at Jim Harbaugh during Orange Bowl

9:53 AM, Jan 4, 2011   |    comments
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Hall of Famer Elway, the legendary former Denver Broncos quarterback and Stanford alum, was planted on the sidelines throughout the Cardinal's 40-12 Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech on Monday. It was no surprise heading into the game that Elway was not only rooting on his alma mater, but also likely scouting Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh as a possible Broncos head coach.

The Denver Broncos are expected to announce Elway as the new VP of football operations Wednesday. Among his tasks ahead are picking a No. 2 overall draft pick, wrestling with the quarterback situation between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, and hiring a head coach. Jim Harbaugh is likely to be a part of that conversation.

Harbaugh, a former NFL coach, came to Stanford after 2006 when the Cardinal went 1-11. The 2010-2011 team finished 12-1 after beating Virginia Tech. Their only loss came at home to the Oregon Ducks, currently the BCS-ranked No. 2 team in the nation.

Harbaugh is arguably the hottest head coach in college and the pros right now, and has already been linked to possible head coaching positions at the University of Michigan and the San Francisco 49ers.

Elway's excitement was tough to contain following Stanford's Orange Bowl blowout. He sang praises about Harbaugh's victory as well as his staff's ability to recruit top-notch talent.

"Obviously, Jim Harbaugh did a tremendous job," Elway said. "He's done a great job recruiting and bringing the right kids in, and they've gone on and done a heck of a job playing and playing hard. So it's really a tribute to Jim and his staff and what they've done. To be able to get the type of kids they have at Stanford and be able to compete at this level is unbelievable."

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw for four touchdowns, was a huge part of that success. Luck has yet to decide whether he's leaving early for the NFL, but he's prospected to be a top pick, if not the first pick in the draft, if he does declare himself eligible for the draft. Elway could very well play a role in bringing Luck to the Broncos, assuming Luck declares.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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