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Broncos name Del Rio interim coach

The SportsXchange

The Denver Broncos announced Monday that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is the team's interim head coach in John Fox's absence.

Fox is in Charlotte, N.C., and will be away from the team for several weeks after having surgery to replace a valve in his heart.

Del Rio, who coached the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011, was considered leading candidate to temporarily replace Fox after he was hospitalized on Saturday night.

The Broncos waited to name Del Rio as interim coach because vice president of football operations John Elway was not in the Denver area during the Broncos bye week.

Del Rio was defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers under Fox in 2002 before taking the Jaguars' job. He went 69-73 with Jacksonville, including two playoff appearances.

Del Rio played in the NFL for 11 years as a linebacker with the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings from 1985-95.

Denver's defense ranked second in the NFL in yards allowed and fourth in points allowed last season. However, this year the Broncos' defense is 25th with key injuries and suspensions in the first half of the season.

The Broncos (7-1) are at the San Diego Chargers on Sunday and could have their starting 11 at full strength for the first time this season.

Del Rio is still expected to run the defense and call plays.

"He'll demand a lot out of us," safety David Bruton told USA Today Sunday night.

The Broncos' offense is not expected to be significantly affected, with first-year coordinator Adam Gase and veteran quarterback Peyton Manning leading it.

Bruton said he spoke to Fox by phone Sunday and said he was in good spirits.

"We have to pick up some slack," Bruton said. "We know what we have to do. We have to go out there and work. It'll give us an extra edge, to go out there and play for Foxy."
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