Stress, long hours and health concerns have long been associated with the NFL coaching profession.
And the hardships of the job were on display this weekend with Denver Broncos coach John Fox and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak both stricken with serious medical problems.
Fox is recovering from aortic valve heart surgery performed Monday and will be sidelined for several weeks. On Sunday night, Kubiak was taken off the field at halftime against the Indianapolis Colts after collapsing and remained hospitalized Monday while undergoing tests.
"I'm really good friends with John Fox and I know Gary Kubiak pretty well professionally," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday at team headquarters. "We're a bunch of men playing a kid's game, but the stakes are high. Everybody works really, really hard at it, and there's a lot of pressure.
"And that's the way it should be. That's OK, but that doesn't make it any less demanding. Our hearts and prayers definitely go out to those two guys."
Factoring in the lengthy hours spent watching game tape and devising game plans in addition to meetings and overseeing practices, Harbaugh acknowledged how difficult coaching can be.
"You’re here all the time as a coach," Harbaugh said. "It’s not something that you spend any time doing anything else. It’s not like you go home at night and have dinner and talk with the wife and kids about the job and how it went. You’re here."
Harbaugh said the Ravens' coaching staff undergoes annual physicals every May.
Hired in 2008, Harbaugh has made it a point to urge his assistants to work out regularly to maintain their health.
"We encourage our guys to exercise as much as possible," Harbaugh said. "We've got a pretty good facility here to do that. Sometimes, it's hard to do it and I tell them, 'It's not that hard. It's just right down the hallway. Go down there and try to get some exercise.'"
The Ravens have also tried to create a family-friendly environment at their training complex, allowing the coaches' children to attend practice and holding family dinners for wives and children.
“We try to do a great job with our families," Harbaugh said. "The families can come in and have dinner and stuff on Tuesday night and Monday night and Wednesday night and be a part of it as much as we can."
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