Broncos Coach John Fox has heart surgery; Jack Del Rio takes over

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will take over as interim coach as Coach John Fox recovers from surgery.
(Ed Andrieski / Associated Press)

One of John Fox’s favorite sayings is “Next man up.”

Whenever a starter goes out, his replacement needs to step right in and keep things rolling.

This time, that next man up is defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who’s in charge of the Denver Broncos while their head coach recovers from heart surgery.

While Del Rio was running his first practice as the Broncos’ interim coach Monday, Fox was in the recovery room at Carolinas HeathCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte, N.C., after having his aortic valve replaced in an operation he had hoped to delay until after the Super Bowl.


“We all wish him a speedy recovery. The best way that we could honor him is to go out and play great football,” Del Rio said after taking over a 7-1 team that’s the prohibitive Super Bowl favorite even though the Broncos trail the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) in their own division.

Fox’s wife, Robin, issued a statement through the team that said Fox’s operation went well and he was being monitored in the hospital’s post-operative critical care unit.

“Along with his medical team, we will take great care of him so he can fully recover and get back to coaching the Broncos as soon as possible,” she said.

Del Rio spent nearly nine seasons as Jacksonville’s head coach before joining Fox’s staff last year. Fox is expected to miss several weeks while recovering from the open-chest surgery and undergoing arduous cardiac rehabilitation.


Fox was hoping to put off the operation until the off-season but after meeting with his cardiologist in Raleigh, N.C., late last week, he began feeling dizzy while playing golf near his off-season home in Charlotte on Saturday and was hospitalized.

Texans’ Kubiak to remain in hospital

Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak will remain hospitalized until at least Tuesday after collapsing on the field at halftime of his team’s 27-24 loss to Indianapolis.

The team said the 52-year-old Kubiak experienced “dizziness and a light-headed feeling” during Sunday night’s game before being taken by ambulance to a Houston hospital. The Texans have not said what caused the problem, saying only that Kubiak has gone through a battery of tests and is with his family.


“Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits,” General Manager Rick Smith said Monday. “He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored.”

Kubiak hunched over and dropped to his knees at the 24-yard line and he was immediately surrounded by medical personnel. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and put in an ambulance.

Man convicted in Taylor case

A 23-year-old man was convicted in Miami of second-degree murder in the 2007 slaying of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor, who was shot outside his own bedroom after witnesses said he confronted young men who had broken into his home looking for money.


The jury deliberated about 16 hours over four days before returning the verdict in the trial of Eric Rivera Jr., who admitted in a videotaped confession to police days after Taylor’s death that he fired the fatal shot after kicking in the bedroom door. At the trial, he said on the witness stand that his confession was given only under police pressure and amid purported threats to his family.

Rivera was also convicted of armed burglary. Although Rivera did not get the maximum first-degree murder conviction, he still faces a potential life prison sentence. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy did not immediately set a sentencing date but will hold a related hearing on Dec. 10.


Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will miss at least the next month with a fractured left foot. ... St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks is expected to miss at least one week with a broken finger on his right hand. ... Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel was cleared to play after missing four weeks with a sprained right knee. ... The San Francisco 49ers activated wide receiver Mario Manningham from the physically-unable-to-perform list and waived cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.