Unemployment must have been wearing on John Fox. He's working again. He's accepted the job as head coach of the Denver Broncos.
Denver is a great city and the Broncos are a great opportunity. They get to play Oakland twice every season.
I knew Fox would be a head coach again. But I'm surprised it was in Denver. Pat Bowlen, who owns the team, is a good friend of Jerry Richardson, who owns the Carolina Panthers. Of course they talked.
Despite the acrimony that accompanied Carolina's disasterous 2-14 season, perhaps Richardson remembered the good times and spoke highly about his coach. Or maybe John Elway made the call.
Fox worked nine seasons for Richardson. He knew before the 2010 season began he was out. So, of course, did Richardson and general manager Marty Hurney. The relationship between Richardson and Fox had worn out.
When I wrote on opening day that Fox was beginning his final season, I was trashed by readers. When Carolina began losing every week, the same readers trashed Fox. I told them Fox would coach again. Some couldn't fathom why.
True, there were some bizarre coaching misadventures late in the season. In the finale at Atlanta, Fox called an end around to Brandon LaFell, and LaFell fell down, out of energy, after 60 yards. On the next play, the Panthers again gave the ball to LaFell this time with the idea that he would throw a pass. He was so exhausted he could hardly hang onto the ball.
But Fox's players loved him. As the season wore down, I would get them privately, where they could speak about their boss candidly and, if they insisted, off the record.
They didn't need privacy. They talked as if they were behind a lectern, on a stage. They believed Fox wanted to win as badly as they did. They offered the ultimate compliment. They considered him one of them.
The great untruth about Fox is that he is the man we saw and heard in news conferences. That was a just a show, a private competition to see how little he could say and how boring he could be.
In real life, he's interesting, he's funny, he's charismatic. I was reading a newspaper -- the Charlotte Observer if you must know -- in a coffee shop one morning, had the paper in front of my face. Somebody smacked it and yelled and I jumped. It was Fox.
He was good in his first gig as Carolina's head coach, although he did his best work in the early and middle years. He'll be better this time.