Denver Broncos coach John Fox will have a surgical procedure to replace his aortic heart valve next week in North Carolina, the team announced.
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,” the Broncos said in a statement. “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.”
According to FOX Sports, Fox will be out four to six weeks.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is expected to be the interim head coach during Fox's absence.
Fox was slated to have the surgery during the offseason and was iin North Carolina during the bye week to meet with the surgeon regarding a potential February procedure.
“I sincerely appreciate all of the support from friends, Denver Broncos fans and so many around the league today,” Fox said in a statement. “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.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.