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Broncos owner Bowlen 'happy with where we're at' -- without Cutler

DENVER -- Broncos owner Pat Bowlen says he's pleased with the trade that sent Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears and that both sides got what they wanted.

"We're happy with where we're at," Bowlen told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. "I'm happy for Jay. I think he's going to a good organization."

The Broncos dealt Cutler and a fifth-round draft pick to the Bears on April 2 for quarterback Kyle Orton, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder, ending a six-week feud that began when Cutler decided he didn't want to play for new coach Josh McDaniels.

"He didn't want to be in Denver. He made that clear," Bowlen said of Cutler. "He's going on with his career, and we're going on with our team."

Bowlen also said he's happy with the direction of his franchise under the 32-year-old McDaniels, who was hired in January after Mike Shanahan's firing.

With the Cutler drama now over, Bowlen is eager to see what McDaniels can do in Denver.

"I am. I've spent a lot of time with Josh, and some of the other new coaches, I'm very comfortable," Bowlen said. "A lot of people said, 'How can you hire a 32-year-old coach?' Some other teams have done similar things, hiring younger coaches.

"I just really like his approach. I really like what he learned in New England, what he's brought to Colorado. I think we're going to be very successful with Josh."

Bowlen is relieved that the organization doesn't have to deal with the Cutler controversy anymore.

"You want to look at the future, not worry about the past," Bowlen said. "I'm always positive at this time of the year. I don't want any other distractions. I just want to go ahead and play football."

Bowlen spoke at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, where former Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was among the honorees.

"Rod was not a well-known guy when he came in," Bowlen said. "He came in and he earned his reputation as one of the better wide receivers of his era, for sure. I think he definitely is a Hall of Famer."

Smith, who retired last summer after a hip injury ended his career, said he, too, is on board with McDaniels, who spent the last few seasons as New England's offensive coordinator.

"Both of us have the same passion -- that's for the Denver Broncos to be on top," said Smith, who owns virtually every Broncos receiving record and helped the team win back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the late 1990s.

So far, Smith's friends inside Dove Valley have been complimentary of McDaniels.

"I'm getting great updates on how he is as a person, how detailed he is," Smith said. "The structure is very important when you're starting a brand new football team. You have to have a structure that's second to none. That's going to last for years."

Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, who introduced Smith at the ceremony, has mixed feelings about Cutler's departure.

"I'm sad, disappointed," Sharpe said. "I wish it didn't have to happen. At the end of the day, the Broncos did what was best for the Broncos. ... I hope it works out for everybody."

Now, Orton and Chris Simms are hoping to succeed Cutler as the Broncos' starting quarterback.

They're not the only newcomers. The Broncos were the busiest team in free agency, signing 16 players.

"You've got a whole lot of new characters on that team," Smith said. "Those guys have to come together and come together fast. They have to gel with their new coach, gel with all the new personnel -- the front office and on the football field. The faster they can do that, those things that look like challenges right now won't be as bad during the season."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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