As expected, the Broncos named Jack Del Rio their interim head coach on Monday morning. With John Fox set to undergo surgery this week on his heart, Denver needed to promote one of their coaches into his position.
As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Sunday, Del Rio was the most likely choice to take over. He provides head-coaching experience, has the respect of the Broncos team and allows for continuity for the team.
Del Rio, a former linebacker at USC and an 11-year NFL veteran, coached the Jaguars for nine years before being fired during the 2011 season.
Like Fox, Del Rio is a defensive-minded guy. He and Fox have worked together for a long time and share a similar mindset. It should provide for a smooth transition as the Broncos.
There was some discussion about running backs coach Eric Studesville taking over as the interim coach with Fox out. Studesville manned that position when Josh McDaniels was fired midseason in 2010.
However, John Elway ultimately decided Del Rio was the best option as Fox recovers.
Fox is expected to undergo surgery this week and the Broncos announced "will take a leave of absence" for a few weeks minimum.
"He will take a leave of absence from coaching for at least the next several weeks," the Broncos said in a statement on Saturday. "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."
Fox himself thanked the fans and his colleagues for the support and aid he understands taking some time away from football is "the right thing to do."
"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."