In Bay Area, Denver, Seattle, no end to guessing on Young


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Something about this crazy Steve Young soap opera doesn't make sense.

The pieces simply do not fit.

Everything seems so certain in Colorado, with the Denver Broncos and coach Mike Shanahan seemingly on the verge of getting their wish.

From several directions, we continue to hear Young is destined to play for Denver this year. He'll ask the San Francisco 49ers to release him, after which he will sign with the Broncos.

No doubts. No ifs or maybes.

That message is coming from certain Denver media folks, who smugly claim to be plugged into the Broncos' hierarchy and act as if the whole thing is a done deal.

It's also coming from Utah, where Young reportedly has confided to some friends from his Brigham Young roots that he will finish his career in Denver.

All that remains, we hear, is for Young and the Broncos to tiptoe through the proper diplomatic dance. Young wants his exit from the 49ers to be as upbeat and painless as possible for all involved. Denver coach Mike Shanahan obviously wants to avoid any semblance of tampering.

But wait. That's only the Colorado side. At least two other versions of this story are bouncing around the West Coast.

In the Bay Area, it's not being portrayed as Young playing in San Francisco or Denver. It's whether he returns to the 49ers or retires, possibly to join ABC's "Monday Night Football" team.

Three major newspapers cover the 49ers, two in San Francisco and the other in San Jose. They've been all over the Young saga, and understandably so.

Yet, throughout the entire past week, none of those papers mentioned Denver in a single news story about Young. One respected columnist, who has covered San Francisco for years, wrote a piece projecting odds for Young's outcome at 20 percent that he would stay with the 49ers, 75 percent that he would retire and 5 percent that he would go to "another NFL team."

Now, switch to the Great Northwest. Up in Seattle, there's another rendition. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, whose ties with Young go back even further than Shanahan's, apparently has a fervent interest, as well.

Holmgren was Young's position coach at Brigham Young in the early 1980s, and again later with the 49ers as offensive coordinator.

Given the chance, reports there say, Holmgren would try his best to pull off a trade that would send Young to Seattle.

Hmmm, trade. That's not the same as Young being released and then signing with a new team. It also suggests the 49ers, or actually general manager Bill Walsh, might choose Young's destination, picking between two Walsh disciples - Holmgren and Shanahan, both in the AFC West.

Confused? Join the club. But at least the suspense won't last much longer. We're supposed to find out by Saturday at the latest.

What will Steve Young do? Today's answer: Don't believe everything you hear on this end.

When the pieces finally fit, this soap opera finally will end.

But not until then.

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