ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver coach John Fox remained hospitalized Sunday as he awaits aortic valve replacement surgery in North Carolina.
Fox spoke with Broncos executive vice president John Elway by phone Sunday to discuss logistics during his absence, including who will serve as interim head coach. All signs point to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio being that man, although team spokesman Patrick Smyth said that as of Sunday afternoon no decision had been made.
Del Rio served as Jacksonville's coach for nine seasons before joining Fox's staff last year. Fox also spoke with his captains, including Peyton Manning and Wesley Woodyard. The players and coaches return from their bye week Monday with team meetings scheduled for 8 a.m., although special teams players meets earlier in the morning.
Their next game is Nov. 10 at San Diego. The 58-year-old Fox will have surgery in a few days and will miss several weeks while recuperating. Fox had been told earlier about his heart condition and was hoping to put off the operation until February. As part of his trip to North Carolina over the Broncos' bye week, he met with his cardiologist in Raleigh and was told to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.
On Saturday, Fox became dizzy playing golf near his offseason home in Charlotte and was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed he couldn't wait any longer to have the surgery. At 7-1, the Broncos trail the Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) in their division, but they're widely considered Super Bowl favorites in the AFC with a high-octane offense led by Manning and a star-studded defense that recently was bolstered by the return of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller from a suspension.
Fox is in his third season as Broncos coach after a nine-year stint with the Carolina Panthers. He's 107-88 overall, including 6-5 in the playoffs. In Denver, he's 29-14, including 20-5 since quarterback Manning's arrival.
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