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Broncos Super Bowl coach John Fox recovers from COVID, pays tribute to Manning

Broncos also hire a new defensive backs coach.
Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning celebrates throwing his 500th career touchdown pass with head coach John Fox during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Denver.

DENVER — When Broncos public relations boss Patrick Smyth started corralling the former coaches in Peyton Manning’s football career for his private Hall of Fame reveal ceremony two weeks ago, John Fox was the first to commit.

Manning’s head coach with the Broncos from 2012-14, Fox was set to travel from his Marco Island, Fla. home to Denver for the coaches’ gathering at Empower Field at Mile High for the event Friday, January 22, and leave the next day. Those plans were scrapped when Fox tested positive for COVID a couple days before.

His wife Robin also tested positive, even though she had no symptoms.

"We’re both great now," Fox said Saturday from Tampa where he and his wife are invited guests of a Super Bowl 55 event. "Robin wasn’t sick at all. I was sick for two days. I had the body aches. Never had a fever. Never lost my taste or smell. But we went and got what they call an infusion. Which is an IV with antibodies. And 24 hours later I was over it."

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
In this Aug. 3, 2013, file photo, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, front, jokes with starting quarterback Peyton Manning during a morning session at the team's NFL training camp in Englewood, Colo.

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With Fox unable to attend Manning’s ceremony in person, he taped a message for his former quarterback that was played on the south stands video board during the event.

"I was sick as a dog, in my study, in Marco Island, and Robin helped me tape the message on my phone," Fox said. 'I felt awful, but I was like, 'I got to get this done for my man, Peyton.’ I told him what an honor it was to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and what an honor it was for me to coach him."

With Fox as head coach and Manning as quarterback, the Broncos scored a still-standing record 606 points during the 2013 season – 37.9 points per game – while posting an AFC-best 13-3 record. After beating San Diego and New England in the AFC playoffs, the Broncos were crushed by Seattle in Super Bowl 48.

"To be honest with you I thought the 2012 team that lost on the Mile High Miracle (Joe Flacco’s long touchdown pass in a second-round AFC playoff loss to Baltimore), I thought that was our better team because we were healthier," Fox said. 'When we got to the Super Bowl the next year, people forget we lost Chris Harris, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe -- we were beat up on defense. And without Von, running around trying to contain Russell (Wilson) was not going to be easy. So I knew we were going to have to play really well offensively to have a chance and we just didn’t. In our defense, that was a pretty good defense Seattle had."

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox greets Peyton Manning during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Denver.

Broncos hire a defensive back coach

Vic Fangio has hired Christian Parker as one of his defensive back coaches. Parker has relatively little NFL experience. After serving six years as a college defensive backs coach for West Virginia, Norfolk State, William & Mary and Texas A&M, Parker spent the past two years with the Green Bay Packers as a defensive quality control coach. The Broncos may add another defensive backs coach.

Renaldo Hill, Fangio’s defense backs’ coach the previous two seasons, was hired away by new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to be that team’s new defensive coordinator.  

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