Texans coach Gary Kubiak is back after recovering from a mini-stroke, and he can’t wait to coach his team on Sunday against Oakland.
”It just feels great to be back,” he said. ”You have a true appreciation for the opportunity that you have and the opportunity to be around the players … and the chance to do my job again.”
Kubiak, who returned to work on Monday, spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since collapsing on the field at halftime in Houston’s loss to Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
He said doctors have limited his work this week, but that he will lead the team when the Texans try to break a franchise-record seven-game losing streak when they play the Raiders.
”I’m on kind of a different schedule – kind of hard to adjust to, but I’m adjusting to it,” he said. ”I’m listening to them.”
The workaholic coach said he has learned through this ordeal he must take the advice of others — and slow down some.
”I’ve obviously got a lot of people telling me what I need to do,” he said. ”Some great people over at Methodist (Hospital) that I’ve been dealing with for the last week and a half, plus my wife is pretty rough to deal with right now.”
Defensive end J.J. Watt said he thinks Kubiak’s return will give the team a lift on Sunday.
”I’m happiest for him because I know that this is what he loves to do and this is his passion,” Watt said. ”So you’re really happy that he can be out there and doing what he loves.”
Quarterback Case Keenum said having Kubiak back at practice this week has been great for him.
”Trying to get back to normal,” Keenum said. ”So it’s always good to have his input during practice. His leadership is, I think, huge for this team.”
The 52-year-old Kubiak suffered a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, typically by a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. TIAs are often called mini-strokes and can cause stroke-like symptoms including sudden dizziness or unconsciousness. Experts say they are often a warning sign for a future stroke, particularly within three months of a TIA.
When asked to recall what happened when he collapsed, Kubiak said the details were fuzzy.
”I really don’t remember a whole lot,” he said. ”I remember right before the half not feeling very good, had a headache. That’s about the last thing I remember. From there I was over at the hospital talking to some different people.”
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips coached the Texans in Sunday’s loss at Arizona with Kubiak out. He said not being with the team was painful.
”I wasn’t able to watch the whole thing,” Kubiak said. ”I watched parts of it. Very tough. I hurt with them. It was just hard to watch. It’s hard to sit there and watch a football game when you’ve been there the whole time for the last 30 years.”
He declined to discuss specifics of his ongoing medical care, but did reflect a bit when asked if he learned anything from this experience.
”I wasn’t doing anything different than I’ve always done,” he said. ”I guess it just makes you stop and think a little bit. I’ve been through a lot of good times in this league, I’m going through a hard time right now, but it’s nice to go through any time and to be doing what you love to do.”
NOTES: Houston RB Arian Foster, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, will have back surgery in California on Thursday. … The Texans signed safety Jawanza Starling and linebacker D.J. Smith to take Foster and Ed Reed’s spots on the roster.