Orange Bowl Football

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh yells during warm ups before the Orange Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game against Georgia, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

ENGLEWOOD — One of the Broncos’ top coaching candidates might need to be crossed off the list.

University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has garnered attention from several NFL teams, including the Broncos, which reached out to Harbaugh, according to several reports. Harbaugh spent four seasons (2011-14) with the 49ers before becoming his alma mater’s coach in 2015.

Many believe Harbaugh wants to return to the NFL and is considered a top candidate after nearly becoming the Vikings coach last year.

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But Harbaugh attempted to put those rumors to bed on Thursday, releasing a statement that said he’s a “Michigan man through and through.”

“I am aware of the rumors and speculation over the past few days,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “College and NFL teams have great interest in all our personnel, from players to coaches to staff, and I truly believe that is a testament to the strength of our University of Michigan football program. As I stated in December, while no one knows what the future holds, I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023.”

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It’s still believed that Harbaugh could be persuaded, especially if it’s the right situation and for the right money. And he does have some precious familiarity with the Broncos, having faced quarterback Russell Wilson many times while with the 49ers. He also worked with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero in San Francisco, who was a quality control and assistant at the time.

“I enjoyed my time working with him,” Evero said Thursday. “He’s a player’s coach. He’s a coach’s coach. I think the thing about him is he's going to impress change on people. Wherever he goes, he's going to affect change. And I don't know if everyone will always like it, but that’s his personality. I think he’s a heck of a coach.”

Along with Harbaugh, Evero is also being considered for Denver’s opening. In his first season as a defensive coordinator, Evero has helped the Broncos have one of the best defenses in the NFL. That’s why the Broncos intend to interview him.

And that’s also why if the Broncos hire Harbaugh, there’s a good chance Evero sticks around to be his defensive coordinator.

“I am 100% invested into finishing this year off and then taking those things as they come,” Evero said. “I do want to be a head coach, but the timing is not in my control. I’ll just do what my job is right now which is being a defensive coordinator.”

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Surtain wins team MVP

Second-year cornerback Pat Surtain II was named the 2022 Demaryius Thomas Team MVP Award recipient on Thursday. The award is voted on by local media and given to the player who the media considers to be the most valuable. Safety Justin Simmons won the award in 2021.

“A big honor, man,” Surtain said. “First off, I would just like to thank my teammates and my coaches for pushing me every day to be the best person and best player I can be. Without them, who knows. It just goes to show the success I had this season leading into the season — my goals. This is one of the goals I wanted to have, so it’s an honor — a huge honor.”

Surtain, who was drafted ninth overall in 2021, is also the only Bronco to make the Pro Bowl this season.

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Risner wins Good Guy Award

Broncos starting left guard Dalton Risner was named the 2022 Darrent Williams Good Guy Award recipient, which is given to the player who best exemplifies Williams' enthusiasm, cooperation and honesty while dealing with members of the press. This award is also voted on by the local media. Last year, former Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater won the award.

“Thank you, guys, so much. I appreciate this,” Risner said. “It’s a huge honor for me to receive this award. I know that it’s been a tough year for all of us here in Broncos Country, but at the same time, there are things like this that sure do mean a lot. Thank you, guys, so much for your votes. It means a lot for me.”

Injury report

Did not practice: DL DJ Jones (knee), OL Calvin Anderson (ankle), TE Eric Tomlinson (ankle), TE Eric Saubert (knee), WR Kendall Hinton (foot/chest), OLB Jonathan Kongbo (illness)

Limited: WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle), CB Damarri Mathis (concussion), TE Andrew Beck (elbow), CB K’Waun Williams (knee), OL Quinn Meinerz (foot), DL Mike Purcell (elbow/ankle)