Denver Broncos coach John Fox returned to work Monday, four weeks after open-heart surgery, his newfound energy matching his renowned enthusiasm.
"I feel tremendous. As my surgeon said, I had a valve that was the size of a pinhead and now it’s the size of a 50-cent piece," Fox said. "Obviously, the doctors feel good about me getting back to work. I actually would have preferred to be back sooner, but there was a pretty hard deadline of four weeks post-surgery and I honored that and here I am."
Truth is, Fox has been telecommuting for weeks.
As soon as he was released from the hospital after having his aortic valve repaired, a surgery he had hoped to put off until after the Super Bowl, Fox set up a sort of command center at his offseason home in Charlotte, N.C., some 200 yards from the spot on the golf course where he fell ill on Nov. 2 during the Broncos’ bye.
Not only was he in daily contact with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who guided the Broncos (10-2) to three wins in four games during in his absence, but Fox was also in constant communication with his captains, including quarterback Peyton Manning, over the toughest stretch of Denver’s season.
Around the league
Jets • Geno Smith is staying put as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback, coach Rex Ryan said on Monday. Smith was benched in favor of Matt Simms at halftime of the Jets’ 23-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins following another brutal performance. The rookie was 4 for 10 for 29 yards with an interception and an 8.3 quarterback rating in two quarters.
He has one touchdown pass — against New England on Oct. 20 — and 11 interceptions in his last seven games. The Jets (5-7) have lost three straight and are barely hanging on in the postseason mix.
Still, Smith will get the start against Oakland over Simms and veteran David Garrard, who hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2010.
Browns • Quarterback Brandon Weeden is following NFL protocol for a head injury, leaving Cleveland without a healthy starter for this week. Weeden was injured in Sunday’s loss at home to Jacksonville. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski does not know when Weeden, who threw three touchdown passes while filling in for the injured Jason Campbell, got hurt. If Campbell can’t play, Chudzinski said the Browns could start Alex Tanney, signed last week off Dallas’ practice squad, or possibly sign a free agent.
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