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Fox will return to work Monday
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Fox is returning to work Monday, less than a month after undergoing open-heart surgery, and he plans to coach the Denver Broncos in their game against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 8.

What hasn’t been determined is whether Fox will coach from the sideline or the booth. Fox Sports first reported his impending return.

The team issued a statement Thursday saying that “while no formal restrictions will be placed on his workload upon his return, he will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as his well-being remains our No. 1 priority.”

Team owner Pat Bowlen sent his private jet to Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to bring Fox and his wife, Robin, back to Denver. Fox had been recuperating at his offseason home after aortic valve replacement surgery Nov. 4.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has coached the team in Fox’s absence, going 2-1. Del Rio and the Broncos face Kansas City on Sunday in a matchup of 9-2 teams for the AFC West lead.

Fox has been in daily contact with Del Rio over the last few weeks and even Skyped his players during a team meeting last week.

Although he’ll officially return to his job Monday, Fox has actually been back coaching for a while. He was breaking down plays upon his release from the hospital four days after his operation, and on Wednesday quarterback Peyton Manning said they’ve communicated “a healthy amount” over the last three weeks.

“A lot of text messages, a couple of phone conversions during the week, early in the week and then maybe later on in the week. Certainly, about his health, about how he’s doing, but a lot about football, as well,” Manning said.

“He has felt better where he’s had the energy to study the opponent and he can watch practice via the iPad system, and so he’s giving me tips and reminders, things that he thinks I need to work and things that he thinks our offense needs to focus on. Those have always been very helpful.”

Carolina’s Steve Smith wants to be ‘top 10’

As Steve Smith continues to vault past Hall of Fame players in the NFL record book, the Panthers’ fiery 34-year-old wide receiver says he has no plans to slow down soon.

Smith says his goal is to catch 1,000 passes and “get close to” 14,000 yards receiving for his career,  which would leave him in the top 10 in NFL history in both categories.

Smith says “That’s what I want. I want to be in the top 10.”