Xanders and the Broncos part ways after four years. (Getty Images)

The Broncos and general manager Brian Xanders parted ways Monday after a four-year relationship, the team website is reporting.

“Brian deserves a tremendous amount of credit and recognition for the contributions he made to the Broncos during his four years with the organization," Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said in a statement posted on the Broncos' website. "His hard work and dedication played a major role in the recent success of our team, most notably last season’s division title and playoff win."

Elway admitted that it wasn't an easy move to make.

"It was tough because I have a great deal of respect for Brian as a football man but also as a person," he said Monday afternoon according to the Denver Post. "Even more so as a person. He was very helpful to me in this first year getting acclimated back to the NFL. I owe him a lot. Just from the conversation we had, we just thought for his career and for the Broncos we felt that now was the best time to go a different way."

Xanders, 41, played for Bobby Bowden at Florida State and began his NFL career with the Falcons (1994-2007), before being hired as the Broncos' assistant general manager in 2008 by then-head coach Mike Shanahan. In 2009, he was promoted to GM by Shanahan's successor, Josh McDaniels.

"John and I had a lengthy conversation today and we mutually decided to part ways for the best interest of my career aspirations," Xanders said via the Post. "I appreciated everything that (owner) Pat Bowlen has done for the Broncos and for bringing me here in 2008. It was great working with Coach John Fox. I'm telling you, he's a great coach to work with. And it was great working with John Elway."

Xanders' first draft in 2009 was one of the worst by any team that year (RB Knowshon Moreno at No. 12,, DE Robert Ayers at No. 18, and trading a 2010 first-rounder to move up and take CB Alphonso Smith at No. 37), but the two subsequent drafts have been among the best (and that's even if you're excluding Tim Tebow, the 25th player taken in 2010).

The Post's Mike Klis notes that Elway has begun to streamline the Broncos' football operations. He promoted Matt Russell from director of college scouting to director of player personnel, and he hired Mike Sullivan to handle contract negotiations and the team's salary cap.  

As for Xanders' replacement, Elway said "It is a streamline; we're not adding anybody." He continued: "My responsibility to the Broncos and our fans is to build a championship football team. The setup we have throughout every phase of our football operations will better position us for success going forward. Making a change with someone of Brian’s caliber is not easy. I thank him for everything he did for the Broncos and wish him all the best as he continues his career.”

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