HOUSTON (AP) — Andre Johnson stood in Houston’s locker room after the first practice without his hospitalized coach and wondered aloud whether the Texans’ freefall this season could have contributed to his Gary Kubiak’s health problems.
“I think it’s a lot of stress and stuff that definitely comes with it, especially because of the season we’re having,” Johnson said. “That could have played a part in it, but you never know.”
The Texans are trying to pick up the pieces in a season that started with so much promise. Houston was expected to contend for a Super Bowl this season and started 2-0 before losing six straight games, struggling with injuries and bad play. The Texans blew an 18-point lead Sunday night against the Colts before falling 27-24.
By the time the game ended, the 52-year-old Kubiak was in a Houston hospital. He collapsed on the field at halftime, appearing to wince in pain before he was put on a stretcher and hustled to an ambulance.
Kubiak will remain hospitalized until at least Tuesday, the team said. The Texans have not released what’s wrong with Kubiak, saying only that he experienced “dizziness and a light-headed feeling” during the game and had undergone tests with his family at his side.
“Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits,” general manager Rick Smith said Monday as questions swirled about the coach’s health. “He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored.”
Defensive end J.J. Watt talked about how hard Kubiak works and said he’s always the first person to the stadium and the last one to leave.
“I have no idea what the medical correlation is, but I know that this is an extremely difficult profession and obviously being a head coach in the National Football League, you have a lot of stress, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders,” Watt said.
Players said they didn’t have a lot of information about Kubiak’s condition, that they were simply told he was awake and doing better.
“So knowing that, it’s easy for us to be able to prepare and continue to be professionals and do our job knowing that he’s improving and going to be all right,” left tackle Duane Brown said.
As Kubiak was recovering Monday, Denver Broncos coach John Fox underwent heart surgery in North Carolina. Fox was hoping to put off his operation until the offseason, but he felt dizzy last week and doctors recommended immediate aortic valve replacement surgery.
The Texans play Sunday at Arizona. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, a former head coach for Dallas who took over after Kubiak was taken to the hospital, ran Houston’s practice on Monday.
Kubiak was hired in 2006 and is in the midst of a three-year deal that has him under contract through 2014. An eighth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elway’s backup in Denver but has made his mark as an offensive guru and quarterbacks mentor. He calls the offensive plays in Houston.
Kubiak hunched over and dropped to his knees at the 24-yard line on Sunday night and he was immediately surrounded by medical personnel. His shaken team went to the locker room and tried to gather themselves for the second half.
“When you have adversity you just have to adjust to it,” Johnson said. “Right now we’ve been going through a lot of adversity. This is another piece of it that we have to deal with.”
Johnson said he didn’t know anything more about Kubiak’s condition than anyone else, but had some advice for Kubiak.
“If I had to tell him, I’d tell him to worry about his health first,” Johnson said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. This is just a game. Your health is more important … this football game is going to be here. It’s not going anywhere.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org