Broncos Name Jack Del Rio Interim Coach as Fox Undergoes Surgery

The Denver Broncos named defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as the team’s interim coach while John Fox recovers from aortic heart valve replacement surgery, the National Football League team said.

Fox, 58, will take a leave of absence for several weeks, the team said. Fox was in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the Broncos on their bye week when he started to feel light-headed during a golf outing.

Del Rio, who is in his 17th NFL season and second with the Broncos, will continue as the team’s defensive coordinator. Del Rio spent nine years as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-11 before joining the Broncos.

Doctors had told Fox months ago that his defective aortic valve would require a procedure after the 2013 season, the team said. During his trip to North Carolina, he had a preoperative appointment on Oct. 31 with his doctor, who told him to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.

“Testing revealed the need to have this procedure as soon as possible,” the team said.

Fox has a 7-1 record this season with the Broncos, who are scheduled to play at San Diego on Nov. 10.

“Although I am disappointed I must take some time away from the team to attend to this pre-existing health condition, I understand that it’s the right thing to do,” Fox said in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”

Fox is in his third season with the Broncos and has a 28-12 record. He previously coached the Carolina Panthers from 2002 to 2010, leading the team to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.


Yesterday, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak was hospitalized after collapsing as he left the field at halftime of last night’s home game against Indianapolis.

Kubiak, 52, was in stable condition, didn’t suffer a heart attack and didn’t lose consciousness during the incident, the Texans said. He remains in the hospital today.

“Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits. He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored,” Texans General Manager Rick Smith said in a statement on the team’s website.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips served as the team’s coach for the remainder of the 27-24 loss.