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{div class=”photo__credit”}Terrell Davis stands with Pat Bowlen and John Elway after winning the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets at Mile High

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The sports world — in Colorado and beyond — mourned the death of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen on Friday.

“Pat Bowlen was much more than a great sports team owner. He was a great man and friend. He cared deeply about his community, always putting his team and his fans first. Pat fostered a special bond with his players, encouraging them to be leaders not only on the field but also to be leaders in their community and in business.”

— Stan Kroenke

“There was no owner or person like Pat Bowlen. I loved him. Today is a very sad day for all who knew him. When I came into the league in 1994, I worked closely with Pat on the NFL’s broadcasting committee and he offered advice and guidance to help me in every way. It was an example of the kind of man he was. He was relentless in his competitive desire to win, but he was always a gentleman, a professional and a trusted partner.”

— Robert Kraft

“Pat Bowlen and I spent a great deal of time together during my 17 years as commissioner. He volunteered on more than a dozen league committees so we often had meetings in our New York office during the day and then enjoyed dinner conversation at night revolving around our families and his love for the Broncos, their fans and their players. Pat was an extraordinary leader and open-minded consensus builder. I have long considered Pat one of the top five NFL owners in league history.”

— Paul Tagliabue

“Pat personified all that’s right about the NFL and is extremely deserving of this summer’s recognition as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

— Roger Goodell

“I will miss Pat greatly and will always treasure the times we had together. He was a tremendous mentor and a tremendous friend. My heart goes out to Annabel and the entire Bowlen family.”

— John Elway

“I just woke up to the very sad news of my friend & confidant Mr. B passing away. The world has lost a great man/legend. My heart & prayers to the Bowlen family.

Mr. B, I’ll never forget the impact you had on my life. I can’t thank you enough.”

— Terrell Davis

Paul Klee, The Gazette

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Sports columnist

Denver sports columnist for The Gazette

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