Broncos

Broncos Coach John Fox Needs Heart Operation

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Denver Broncos head coach John Fox during the fourth quarter of play against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday December 30, 2012 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo.  -- Photo by Evan Semón, For CBS4

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox during the fourth quarter of play against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday December 30, 2012 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. — Photo by Evan Semón, For CBS4

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DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Denver Broncos coach John Fox needs heart surgery and will miss several weeks, team spokesman Patrick Smyth confirmed Saturday night.

The 58-year-old Fox will undergo aortic valve replacement surgery early next week at a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

The Broncos did not immediately name an interim head coach.

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 and was told to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.

On Saturday, Fox became dizzy playing golf near his offseason home and was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed he couldn’t wait any longer to have the surgery.

“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today,” Fox said in a statement released by the team Saturday night. “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. I have great confidence in our coaches and players, who are fully committed to our goals.

“I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”

DR. DAVE’S BLOG: John Fox Update: Heart Procedure Tuesday

At 7-1, the Broncos trail the Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) in their division, but they’re widely considered Super Bowl favorites in the AFC with a high-octane offense led by Peyton Manning and a star-studded defense that recently was bolstered by the return of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller from a suspension.

Their next game is Nov. 10 against AFC West foe San Diego.

Although it hasn’t been determined who will serve as interim head coach during Fox’s absence, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is a logical choice because he spent nine seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach before joining Fox’s staff last season.

RELATED: Broncos Figuring Out Plans With Fox Out 

Smyth said Fox was with a group of friends and family on a golf course near his offseason home when he started getting dizzy. He said Fox was “in good spirits and he told me he did not suffer a heart attack.”

Running back C.J. Anderson was among the players who sent their well wishes on Twitter, saying, “Prayers go out 2 Fox we here coach.”

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.

Statement From The Denver Broncos

“Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox will undergo an aortic heart valve replacement early next week at a Charlotte-area hospital. He will take a leave of absence from coaching for at least the next several weeks.

“Our focus at this time is Coach Fox’s health and well-being. We extend our thoughts and well-wishes to him for a full and speedy recovery.

“Coach Fox was advised by doctors months ago that his defective aortic valve would require this procedure following the 2013 season. As part of his trip to North Carolina over the bye week, he had a preoperative appointment on Thursday with his doctor, who informed him to seek medical attention immediately if he felt any discomfort.

“On Saturday, Coach Fox began feeling light-headed while golfing with friends. He was taken to a hospital, where testing revealed he needed to have this procedure as soon as possible.

“The club will announce its interim head coach as soon as that decision is finalized.”

Statement From Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox

“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today.

“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. I have great confidence in our coaches and players, who are fully committed to our goals.

“I look forward to returning to coaching as soon as possible.”

- By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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