FOOTBALL; Broncos buck into new era

Red Miller always had class, so his act of wishing the Denver Broncos well, even as he was shooed out the door, came as no real surprise. The shock was in learning that Denver had fired both the popular head coach and Fred Gehrke, the team's general manager.

Miller, in his first season at the reins, took Denver to its only Super Bowl appearance four years ago. Gehrke, meanwhile, was instrumental in building a consistent winner at Denver after years of frustration.

Their departures were the result of new ownership, which feels younger management is important. "I wanted an organization that I could spend time growing up with," said Edgar F. Kaiser Jr., the 38- year-old businessman who purchased the franchise for $30 million.

Thus far, the youth movement consists of bringing in Dallas Cowboy assistant Dan Reeves (36) as the new coach, and Minnesota Viking planning and development director Grady Alderman (42) as the new GM. Both also played for their respective clubs, Reeves having been a Cowboy rookie along with Bronco quarterback Craig Morton in 1965. Reeves's handling of the Morton situation -- deciding whether the veteran passer starts or even makes the team -- might be his most ticklish assignment.

Tom Landry, Dan's boss at Dallas, calls him, "an excellent coach as far as offense is concerned, especially with quarterbacking." And Dallas QB Danny White says he learned more from Reeves than anyone else in the cowboy organization.

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