McCown done after 16 seasons

NFL Notebook

NEW YORK — Josh McCown was sometimes the starting quarterback, often the backup — and always among the most-respected and well-liked players in whatever locker room he was in.

And there were many.

McCown, who turns 40 on July 4, wrote in a piece for The Players’ Tribune posted Monday that he is retiring from playing football after an NFL career that spanned 16 NFL seasons and included stints with 10 teams. He will be helping coach his two sons — also quarterbacks — in high school this year. McCown said he also plans to work as a TV football analyst in the future, and ESPN said later Monday it had hired him as an NFL analyst.

McCown was often considered a “bridge” quarterback, and his career record as a starter was only 23-53. But McCown’s career was about more than numbers.

“I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path,” McCown wrote. “But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone. I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force.

“Because it’s been one heck of a journey.”

He played the last two seasons with the New York Jets, serving as the starter in 2017 and as a veteran backup to rookie Sam Darnold last year. Darnold often raved about how McCown prepared every week, particularly during a four-game stretch when the rookie was sidelined by a foot injury. McCown filled in during that time for Darnold, who stepped back into the starting job when he was healthy and finished his first NFL season with a flourish.

“Just watching Josh, just the way he went about studying the plays that are in the game plan, it’s literally everything, walkthrough, practice, how he treated everything,” Darnold said late last season. “I think it was just awesome to be able to learn and watch him.”

McCown issued a statement through agent Mike McCartney shortly before the NFL’s new year began in March that his desire to continue playing remained strong, but he wanted to spend more time with his family to consider his options.

Broncos to honor Bowlen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos are planning several ways to honor team owner Pat Bowlen , who died last week at 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s just two months shy of his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Renaming their stadium in his honor isn’t one of those.

The team has lacked a naming rights partner for several years, and an online effort pushed by Broncos broadcast partner Orange & Blue 760 called for fans to sign a petition asking the team to rename the stadium “Pat Bowlen Field at Mile High.”

“I don’t think he would want that. So, I don’t think we’re going to do that,” team president and CEO Joe Ellis said Monday.

The team will hold a public tribute today at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

“It’s kind of cool, we’re setting up a museum walkway that has a lot of his personal and Broncos memorabilia, and then at the end of the line is a tribute to him where members of the public can pay their respects to his family,” Ellis said. “All family members will be there tomorrow between the hours of 10 and 3. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a nice send-off for Pat.”

Ellis said the Broncos also will wear an orange and blue “Mr. B.” decal on their helmets this season. Bowlen’s memory also will be honored before the regular-season home opener against Chicago and again in October on the same day fellow Hall of Fame inductee Champ Bailey is added to the team’s Ring of Honor.

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