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Broncos coach John Fox discusses his heart condition

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox talks with

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox talks with reporters during a news conference. (Jan. 26, 2013) Credit: AP

JERSEY CITY - John Fox had moved on mentally from that day back in November, the moment he found himself struggling to breathe on a Charlotte golf course. But within minutes of stepping onto the dais Sunday night, Fox was forced to relive it all.

His coaching career was placed on hold for four weeks while his wife and doctors nursed him back to health from aortic stenosis. The condition -- which occurs when the heart's aortic valve does not open fully, resulting in a decreased blood flow -- was first diagnosed when he was the Giants' defensive coordinator five years ago, but a case of lightheadedness on the golf course during the Broncos' bye week resulted in his decision to undergo heart surgery.

"Basically I wasn't getting any oxygen," Fox said Sunday during his Super Bowl news conference aboard the Cornucopia Majesty ship in Jersey City. ". . . Basically, you're kind of smothered. It was more like suffocating than anything else."

During his month-long absence from the team, Fox remained focused on returning to the coaching sideline. And while his players prayed for their coach's speedy recovery, they never lost a step during their playoff push.

"I'm glad it's over with. I was very blessed," Fox said. " . . . I thought it was pretty much like any injury of a player, four to five weeks, made it back early, worked hard to get back. And once that started, I never really gave it a second thought."

Now he's focused on the ultimate prize: winning a Super Bowl in the state that meant so much to him for so many years.

"I've got nothing but great memories here," said Fox, who recalled his sons growing up in nearby Wayne, N.J. "It would mean a lot to win it anywhere, but it would be special here."


Champ: No end game

Some players sail off into the sunset after winning a Super Bowl, but Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, 35, refuses to think that far ahead. "I'm not really thinking about retiring,' said the 15-year veteran. "All I'm thinking about is winning."


Woody's world

The Broncos will get their first taste of the Jets' practice facility when they head to Florham Park on Monday. Fox has yet to decide whether his team will practice indoors or outside, but regardless, he was especially complimentary of Woody Johnson's compound. "I heard it's a phenomenal facility," Fox said. " . . . Everything's about preferred grass -- [it] saves our players' legs. But if need be, we'll go indoors."

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