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Did Broncos Tamper With Steve Young?

DENVER (AP) — San Francisco 49ers general manager Bill Walsh says his team has been contacted by the NFL about the Denver Broncos' possibly tampering with quarterback Steve Young.

Walsh said the league was ``very sensitive to it in this case. The league is watching it closely,'' the Denver Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.

There has been widespread speculation that Denver coach Mike Shanahan would like to acquire Young, a two-time NFL MVP. Young has been considering his future in football after a series of concussions.

49ers officials have said their doctors must clear Young before he returns to action.

NFL tampering rules prevent coaches from having any contact with players under contract with other teams. Young, 38, is still under contract to San Francisco.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello denied the league was watching the Broncos. ``There is no Steve Young issue that we are monitoring,'' Aiello said.

Shanahan and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen haven't said anything publicly about trying to acquire Young. Speculation, though, has been widespread.

Quarterback Gus Frerotte, who left Detroit for Denver earlier this year, has said Shanahan ``was flat straight out with me'' about his interest in signing Young if he was available.

Young played for the Broncos coach when Shanahan was the 49ers offensive coordinator from 1992-1994.

Walsh said he understood why Denver would be interested in Young.

``I know Denver is just a player or two away from another Super Bowl,'' Walsh said. ``I understand Mike Shanahan's relationship with Steve Young. He's among the coaches Steve's worked with and I think I can speak for Steve having great regard for Mike, as I do.''

But the fact is, Walsh said, Young is under contract with the 49ers.

``But we're going to have to think long and hard about whether he should take the field for the 49ers,'' he said. ``And we're going to have to hear from Steve about whether he wants to play for the 49ers or if he would like to become a free agent.''

San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci said he finds it curious that Denver is the only team identified as being interested in Young.

``If Steve Young were ever available, there probably would be a lot of teams that would have an interest,'' Mariucci said. ``If that's true, other teams have used restraint and have kept quiet and done things the way it's supposed to be, the wait-and-see approach.''
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