One month ago, Broncos head coach John Fox underwent open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve. He was expected to return towards the end of the regular season, possibly during the playoffs, but coach Fox said he “feels tremendous” and returned to his coaching duties on Dec. 2 with the Denver Broncos.
"I feel as healthy as I've ever felt over the last 20 years," Fox said. "Our team is still in good position."
After feeling lightheaded and dizzy while golfing in North Carolina during the Broncos bye week, Fox was hospitalized and went into the operating room two days later. The defective valve was a preexisting condition that Fox had hoped to put off until after the Super Bowl. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio filled in at head coach and the Broncos held a record of 3-1 while Fox was recovering.
Although he is officially back with the team, Fox will resume cardiovascular rehab and take an occasional day or two off if necessary.
Sitting atop the conference with an overall record of 10-2 and their four remaining opponents currently owning losing records, the Broncos are en route to clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Fox’s return brings back some extra spark to the practice field, which has the Denver players and personnel buzzing.
"I think he might be even more fiery, just being out so long and having that bye week. I think he'll be more fiery with the refs, we expect a more intense coach," cornerback Chris Harris said. "It's definitely great, having our leader back. He expects a lot out of us, and we want to go out there and play hard for him."
"It was definitely good to see him," running back Knowshon Moreno said. "He didn't miss a beat, he was right back in there running the meetings. We just miss his presence."
Nobody is gladder to have the coach back than John Fox himself. While on hiatus, he didn’t necessarily take a break from work. Fox would watch game and practice film and communicated with Del Rio on a daily basis. Fox admitted that watching the games away from the sidelines was the hardest part of the ordeal. At the end of the press conference, Fox expressed his deepest gratitude for his wife, Robin.
"I think she was the most happy person today as I drove off to work," Fox said with a smile. "Robin Fox, my lovely and great wife."