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Broncos DC Vance Joseph aims to follow Wade Phillips' trail in return to Denver

Vance Joseph spent two years as the Denver Broncos' head coach before his firing following the 2018 season. After four years in the desert, Joseph returned to the Mile High City in February as defensive coordinator under Sean Payton.

Joseph said he harbors no animosity with how his tenure went as head coach.

"It was a fair process. This is a league of winning, so when you don't win, there is going to be change," he said. "It was never personal for me. I came here and I worked my butt off, but it didn't work. I'm back now, and that's my focus -- playing great defense for Sean and win games. I've never had [anger] in my heart, even leaving here four years ago."

The Broncos went 11-21 in two seasons under Joseph, marked by an underperforming club that never found an answer under center. The 50-year-old coach spent the past four years in Arizona as defensive coordinator, leading a solid defense before the bottom fell out last season after a litany of injuries.

Joseph was a popular candidate for several clubs this offseason looking to bring in the veteran DC with head-coaching experience. In the end, he decided to return to Denver.

"I had some choices after leaving Arizona, but Denver is home," he said. "This is a great place with a great fanbase. We have a home here still. For me, it was home. Outside of working with Sean, it was the perfect spot for me."

Joseph is attempting to traverse the same trail as former head coach and longtime defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Phillips spent two seasons as the Broncos' head coach in 1993-1994 before being fired. He later returned in 2015-2016 as DC and helped Peyton Manning's Broncos win a Super Bowl.

While the gap between reunions was much smaller for Joseph, the Broncos new DC said he spoke with Phillips about what it's like to make that sort of comeback.

"I did about a week after I signed back," he said, laughing. "He reminded me that he was let go and he came back as a coordinator and won a championship. That was his message to me. Hopefully I can follow his trail."

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