ENGLEWOOD - I’m not sure this is related to his condition, but Gary Kubiak seems like he puts all his heart, every ounce of his soul, all of his attention not related to his family and faith into making the players he coaches into better men, and a collection of winners.
He is a kind, honest man who seems to genuinely care. About each player. He is a no-nonsense coach who wants the Broncos to win not necessarily for his own self-gratification, but so others will be pleased. He wants to win for Pat Bowlen, for John Elway, for the fans whose lives are centered around the Broncos, for Ty Sambrailo.
It’s a heavy responsibility Kubiak carries around with him, and it’s not the kind of weight a half hour each day on the treadmill can shed.
The biggest compliment Kubiak gave Sunday evening – after his team lost to the Atlanta Falcons, 23-16, but before the coach became debilitated with a complex migraine – was to Sambrailo, the right tackle who struggled to the point he had to be pulled in the fourth quarter.
Sambrailo has been playing before he was properly recovered in terms of strength and practice from two serious arm injuries the past year because the starter Donald Stephenson was hurt. It’s been rough at times but Kubiak appreciates Sambrailo’s willingness to try.
“Ty has played a ton of football for a guy who hasn’t done much for eight weeks,’’ Kubiak said Sunday. “He was forced into that situation because of the injury to Donald. He’s held up well in my opinion.”
Shortly after his press conference Sunday, Kubiak was stricken with the migraine. It wiped him out. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he was kept overnight.
Kubiak has been extremely fatigued since the episode. In part because he suffered a transient ischemic attack, or mini stroke, while coaching the Houston Texans in a November, 2013 game, Kubiak was ordered to rest this week. He will undergo more tests and evaluations. He is on medication that his wife Rhonda will make sure is properly administered at the proper time.
Broncos general manager John Elway named special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis as the interim head coach for this week’s game against San Diego. The game is Thursday. Kubiak is coming back to work next Monday.
He didn’t have the energy to protest. He was released from the hospital Monday but he did not show up at the Broncos’ headquarters.
“We didn’t give him a chance,’’ Elway said. “That question was not asked. The doctors said, ‘Hey, listen. This is Gary’s week.’ He’s going to take the week. …
“There are some different triggers or whatnot as far as migraines. They’ll look at all of those different things and see if they can figure out and see what’s causing it.”
The Broncos have overcome numerous distractions and ample adversity (Peyton or Brock?) to win the Super Bowl last season and start 4-1 this season. But it was Kubiak’s ability to manage people and circumstances that guided them.
Now the Broncos will have to overcome the loss of their devoted leader. The Broncos play the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.
In a statement released by the team Monday night, Kubiak said:
I’m feeling much better and am thankful for everyone’s thoughts and well-wishes. It’s tough not being there with our team this week, but I’ve got great confidence in Joe D, our coordinators and coaching staff, and all of our players.
Greek and the medical team did an outstanding job taking care of me and getting this figured out. I’ve made a lot of positive changes health-wise in recent years and will continue to listen to doctors.
I’ll be at home this week, resting and getting healthy, and I look forward to rejoining our team on Monday.
Bronco Nation is hoping Kubiak fully recovers from his second medical emergency in three years. When he gets back it will be fair to ask what he's going to do about that offense.
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