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The Broncos also put out feelers to gauge the interest of University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who is preparing for his fourth shot at a national championship when the Sooners face Florida in the BCS title game Thursday night.
Bowlen is an Oklahoma graduate.
On Saturday, however, Stoops dismissed the notion he was ready to leave the college ranks for Denver: "There's no story," Stoops said. "I'm not a candidate."
Bowlen doesn't want his new coach to have full control of the team as Shanahan did, so after he hires a coach, he'll set out to hire a general manager. One intriguing possibility is Scott Pioli, the Patriots' vice president of football operations.
The Broncos are 24-24 in the last three seasons and are mired in a three-year postseason drought for the first time since 1982.
They led the AFC West by three games with three weeks to go, then became the first team in league history to blow such a lead when they were trounced 52-21 by San Diego last week to finish 8-8.
Shanahan, 146-91 in 14 seasons in Denver, was fired 48 hours later.
It appears Shanahan will sit out the 2009 season and look to land a prime NFL coaching job in 2010, when fellow free agents Bill Cowher and Mike Holmgren might also be rejoining the coaching ranks.
Shanahan told the NFL Network in an interview that aired Sunday that if he does take a year off from coaching, he'll take computer courses and spend some time learning how to send e-mails and text messages.
He'll be sticking around Denver, where crews are putting the finishes touches on his 35,000-square foot mansion and where he recently broke ground on a steakhouse. He'll also get an up-close view of the rebuilding job his successor tackles with the Broncos.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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