Texans coach Kubiak collapses, taken to hospital

As the Houston Texans trickled into the locker room at halftime

and learned that coach Gary Kubiak had collapsed leaving the field,

their excitement over a big first half quickly disintegrated into

dread.

They were soon informed that he was in stable condition, but the

rattled team unraveled in the second half as Indianapolis rallied

for a 27-24 victory Sunday night.

”There was a lot of unknown,” said defensive coordinator Wade

Phillips, who coached the team after halftime. ”Everything was

unknown as to what was going on and what happened to Kube.”

Kubiak hunched over and dropped to his knees at the 24 yard line

and was immediately surrounded by medical personnel. He was lifted

off the field on a stretcher and taken by cart to the

ambulance.

”We were all very worried,” quarterback Case Keenum said.

”When we went back out they told us he was … stable. We were all

upset about that but trying to stay focused at the same time.”

The Texans didn’t say what was wrong with Kubiak, but did say he

didn’t have a heart attack. The team said the 52-year-old coach, a

former NFL quarterback who calls the team’s plays, was conscious

and was with his family as he was taken to the hospital.

”He had an episode; he was light-headed and dizzy,” Houston

general manager Rick Smith said in an interview on NBC. ”He was

evaluated by a number of specialists … he is awake and

coherent.

We have to assess … obviously, there’s a lot of info.

Hopefully, Gary will be back with us tomorrow.”

Up 21-3 when Kubiak collapsed, the Texans struggled after

halftime for their sixth straight loss after opening the season 2-0

with Super Bowl hopes.

Veteran safety Ed Reed didn’t want to blame the loss what

happened to Kubiak.

”I thought we dealt with it well,” Reed said. ”We’ve just got

to finish.”

Kubiak’s collapse came a day after Denver Broncos coach John Fox

was hospitalized in North Carolina as he awaits aortic value

replacement surgery. The 58-year-old Fox will have surgery in a few

days and will miss several weeks while recuperating.

Fox had been told earlier about his heart condition and was

hoping to put off the operation until February. As part of his trip

to North Carolina on a bye week, he met with his cardiologist in

Raleigh and was told to seek medical attention immediately if he

felt any discomfort.

On Saturday, Fox became dizzy playing golf near his offseason

home in Charlotte and was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed

he couldn’t wait any longer to have the surgery.

In college, Minnesota coach Jerry Kill took a leave of absence

last month so he could better manage and treat his epilepsy. He has

had five seizures on game day in his two-plus seasons with the

Golden Gophers.

Kubiak has long been known as a top offensive coach, mentoring

quarterbacks in Denver under Mike Shanahan and now Matt Schaub –

and Case Keenum – in Houston. Kubiak has had no known public health

problems.

Kubiak was hired in 2006, along with general manager Rick Smith,

after the Texans finished a franchise-worst 2-14. Smith spent 10

years with Kubiak while the coach was offensive coordinator of the

Broncos. Smith was Denver’s defensive assistant for four seasons

before moving into the front office for his last six years with the

Broncos.

The pair has helped transform the Texans, which began play in

2002, from league laughingstock to contender. The team went 6-10 in

their first year and 8-8 in each of the next two seasons.

Expectations were high in 2010 after Houston finished at 9-7 for

its first winning record in 2009. But the Texans instead fell to

6-10, which led to many fans calling for Kubiak’s firing.

His original contract was due to expire after the 2010 season,

but owner Bob McNair has stepped up to keep Kubiak and defended him

several times amid the bumps. Among recent departures were

assistant head coach Alex Gibbs (for Seattle) and offensive

coordinator Kyle Shanahan went to join his father, Mike, in

Washington.

Last year, the Texans announced contract extensions for both

Smith and Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the

playoffs last year for the first time. Kubiak’s three-year

agreement has him under contract through 2014.

McNair said at the time he offered Kubiak a four-year deal, but

the coach preferred to make it for three.

Kubiak made his mark as Denver’s offensive coordinator under

Mike Shanahan, winning two Super Bowls. An eighth-round pick out of

Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elway’s backup. He

finished his career 4-1 as a starter, all in emergency relief of

Elway.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org