Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network has reported that Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak will step down from that position after today’s regular season finale against the Oakland Raiders in Denver.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing multiple league sources, reported that his family’s concern over his health is the primary reason for his decision to leave his position with the Broncos. At 55, Kubiak’s migraine-related condition has plagued him since it first surfaced in November of 2013, when he collapsed as he was walking off the field at halftime of a game against the Indianapolis Colts. Kubiak was the head coach of the Houston Texans at the time.
Kubiak’s Family and Health Situation
The problem seemed manageable until October, when Kubiak was taken by an ambulance to the hospital after displaying flu-like symptoms. Kubiak was medicated and then released the next day, but the hospitalization was reason enough for him to take the following week off from his coaching duties. No further serious incidents have been reported since then.
Schefter’s report that his family putting pressure on him to put his health above his career is in keeping with what he know about Kubiak. Rhonda Kubiak, Gary’s wife, expressed concerns over the toll that being a head coach in the NFL has taken on her husband’s health in an interview when Gary took the Broncos job. The Kubiaks have three sons, one of which has been an intern with the Broncos. The family has a ranch in Texas, and Schefter says that its their wish for him to retire to the ranch with them.
Kubiak was non-committal in his press conference on Friday as to his future with the team, stating that he would have plenty of time for reflection after the team’s season finale. The Broncos are likely about to start reflecting on how they replace him.
Possible Replacements for Kubiak in Denver
Rapoport marked Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as a possible replacement for Kubiak, and that hire would be in keeping with the strong defensive team that Denver has built.
From a different perspective, it’s the offensive side of the ball that needs the most attention in Denver, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is expected to remain in that position at this point, despite the fact that his contract is expiring after this season. A renewal of Phillips’ contract might signal a decision to go with a head coach who has a bigger emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. If that’s the decision, then Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan might be on the short list.
Whoever the Broncos do hire will step into a situation with a robust defense and a young, developing offense that he can mold to his preferences. It seems that Kubiak has decided that his family and his health are more important than continuing in that position, but Denver fans will likely remember him fondly for his contributions to the franchise.