Jeff Legwold | ESPN.com
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Just a week after open heart surgery, Denver Broncos coach John Fox is already breaking down game video and said Tuesday that he still hopes to rejoin the team before the end of the season.
“My goal and dream is obviously to be there before the conclusion of this season,” Fox said during a conference call.
“I feel good,” Fox said, as he thanked people for all of the well-wishes and help he had received the past 10 days, including ” … all the fans out there, obviously the Broncos organization to allow me this time to get my health back, and the process is going very well … and first and foremost my wife, Robin.”
Fox experienced dizziness and light-headedness during a round of golf Nov. 2 in Charlotte, N.C., during the Broncos’ bye week. He was taken to a hospital, and underwent surgery two days later to replace his aortic valve. He continues to recover at his home in Charlotte.
Doctors have said recovery time varies from patient to patient, and it is possible Fox could miss the remainder of the regular season. But he affirmed Tuesday his recovery is going well, and that he hopes to re-join the team as quickly as doctors will allow it.
Fox also said he will return to Denver when he is allowed to travel by air and finish out his recovery.
“I can just tell you I’m working very hard to get better and my doctors are pleased I’ve improved every day,” Fox said. “Things are going great and they like where I’m at right now.”
Fox said he has known aortic valve surgery was a possibility since having the issue first diagnosed in 1997, when he was the New York Giants‘ defensive coordinator. The valve, Fox said, normally has three flaps that control blood flow to the body, but Fox’s old aortic valve had just two.
He had it monitored since and said cardiologists told him last season he would need surgery following the 2013 season.
“[It] was progressively getting worse a year ago; they thought it would last another year,” Fox said.
Fox has told others with the team that doctors believe he had just 54 percent of the proper blood flow through the valve at the time of his incident on the golf course. Fox added that after discussions with his medical team, he doesn’t believe the stress of coaching had a significant impact on what happened to him.
“I’m very, very healthy,” Fox said. ” … It wasn’t due to lifestyle, not being healthy, too much stress. It’s basically something I was born with. … This is really not a lifestyle problem.
“Sure, there’s some pressure and stress involved in coaching,” he added, “but I think a lot of people out there, in Denver, in the country, really around the globe have pressure-packed jobs. I think our military comes to mind as one of those I don’t think coaching compares to. It wasn’t the pressure of coaching or that kind of thing.”
Fox said he watched the Broncos’ 28-20 win Sunday over the San Diego Chargers, but “I’ve got to admit I had to stop watching parts of it … couple of things, knew it wasn’t the best thing for me at that moment.”
The third-year coach said he even called the league offices to discuss Corey Liuget‘s hit on quarterback Peyton Manning in the closing minutes of the game. Manning aggravated a right ankle injury on the play.
Fox said he feels good enough now that he is in daily contact with interim coach Jack Del Rio, as well as a few others in the organization.
- Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
- Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
- Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board
of Selectors since 1999