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John Fox Released From North Carolina Hospital

John Fox
John Fox on Jan. 12, 2013. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) - Broncos Coach John Fox says he's eager to return to coaching, but he knows what's most important after undergoing successful heart surgery this week.

"Although I'm eager to return to coaching, my No. 1 focus is my health," said Fox in a prepared statement released by the Denver Broncos organization as they announced that Fox has been released from the hospital he was being treated at in North Carolina.

Doctors replaced Fox's aortic valve at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte, N.C. It was an operation Fox knew he needed but had hoped to delay until after the Broncos season.

"The encouragement I've received from Robin and my family, friends, the Denver Broncos, fans and so many around the NFL has been incredible. I am truly thankful for every single thought and prayer that was directed my way," Fox said.

So far Fox has not been cleared to return to Denver. The coach says his recovery is "progressing well" and will continue in North Carolina for now.

"I am feeling better and getting stronger each day," he wrote.

Jack Del Rio, the Broncos interim head coach, talked with reporters on Thursday about his phone conversation with Fox.

"He sounded great," Del Rio said.

"His spirits are really good. He feels a little tired, obviously, as he's gone through quite a bit. His body has been put through quite a bit but he's in great spirits and he's healing."

"I assured him everybody's doing great and that we're going to work to make him proud," Del Rio said.

Fox said he will be cheering for the Broncos in their matchup on Sunday with the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, although he admitted it will tough not to be there with the team.

"I believe in our players and have full confidence in Jack Del Rio and our staff," Fox said.

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