ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — John Fox turned around a bumbling team before. The Broncos are counting on him to do it again.
Fox was picked over four other candidates to replace Josh McDaniels, who was fired Dec. 6 amid Denver's worst slide in four decades and an embarrassing videotaping scandal.
The lost season led to a restructuring of the front office and the return of Hall of Famer John Elway as chief football executive. On Thursday, Elway hired Fox, 55, the former Panthers coach.
"For what this building needed, John Fox was the perfect fit for us," Elway said outside team headquarters before zipping off in his Bentley on Thursday evening.
"The one thing I saw in John, he had great football wisdom," Elway said. "And I think that comes with the experience that he has. But not only does he have it on the defensive side, but overall his football wisdom is what won us over."
Elway broke the news of Fox's hiring on Twitter in keeping with the organization's new emphasis on transparency.
"I am very thankful to (owner) Pat Bowlen and John Elway for giving me the opportunity to coach a football team with such a proud tradition," Fox said in a statement. "The Broncos have a culture of winning, and I am excited to continue that legacy. I can't wait to get to work."
The Broncos are coming off a franchise-worst 4-12 season. The Panthers had completed a 1-15 season when Fox arrived in 2002.
He led them to a 7-9 mark in his first year and to the Super Bowl in his second season.
Browns hire QB guru
CLEVELAND — Pat Shurmur quickly turned rookie quarterback Sam Bradford into a rising NFL star. Shurmur's next project will be tougher.
The Browns are no easy fix.
Shurmur, the Rams' offensive coordinator the past two years, was hired by Cleveland, ending a search for its fifth coach since 1999 that began when team president Mike Holmgren fired Eric Mangini on Jan. 3 after his second straight 11-loss season.
Shurmur's late uncle, Fritz, was Holmgren's defensive coordinator in Green Bay when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1996. And in hiring a candidate with no head coaching experience, Holmgren is following the same path he took in getting to the top of his profession.
Like Shurmur, 45, Holmgren was a quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator before getting the Packers job in 1992.
"Pat is a bright, young man who grew up in football and around the coaching profession," Holmgren said. "I came away from our interview very impressed with him as a person, his extensive knowledge of the game and his track record of success as an assistant coach in this league."
NO JAIL FOR L.T.: Former NFL star Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty in New City, N.Y., to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute, misdemeanor charges that carry no jail time but require him to register as a sex offender. The ex-linebacker, who led the Giants to Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991, will serve six years probation. "She told me she was 19," Taylor, 51, said in court as he admitted having sex with a prostitute who turned out to be a 16-year-old Bronx runaway.
LABOR TALKS: The NFL and its players union said they have not held a full-group negotiating session since November. Thursday marked seven weeks until the current collective bargaining agreement expires, and there are no formal meetings scheduled.
LOOKING FOR WORK: Former University of Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt met with friend and former colleague Chan Gailey to see if the Bills coach might have for a job for him.
FAVRE'S SISTER ARRESTED: The sister of retired quarterback Brett Favre was released from jail in Kiln, Miss., on drug charges a day after she was arrested during a methamphetamine bust. Brandi Favre, 34, posted $40,000 bond.