It was a scary weekend for a pair of NFL head coaches.
Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox was playing golf near his offseason home during the bye when he felt dizzy and was rushed to the hospital with heart problems. It will require surgery to replace a valve in his heart. Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field as his team was heading to the locker room of Sunday night's game vs. the Colts. Kubiak was taken off the field on a stretcher and underwent tests Monday to determine whether he suffered a stroke.
The health scares resonated with Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, who has relationships with both coaches.
"I'm really good friends with John Fox, and I know Gary Kubiak pretty well, obviously, professionally," Harbaugh said. "Our hearts and prayers definitely go out to those two guys."
The incidents sparked a conversation around the league and in the media about the stresses that NFL coaches are under. They work incredibly long hours during the season – regularly 90-100 hours a week – and the lifestyle can take a toll.
"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 has always worked to foster a family environment within the Ravens. As the son of a coach, he grew up around football, and he has encouraged members of his coaching staff to bring their families to the Under Armour Performance Center.
The children of the coaching staff are often around practice during training camp in the summer. Also, the coaches' wives and children come to the facility on nights during the week to eat dinner together as a family.
"We try to do a great job with our families, where 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," he said.
Another focus for coaching staff is to stay active and exercise during the week. Harbaugh is in great shape and known for his tough workouts, and he urges his fellow coaches to exercise throughout the day.
"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, I say, 'It's not that hard. It's just right down the hallway, go down there and try to get some exercise.'"
Members of the coaching staff also get annual physicals in May, and have access to world-class healthcare through the team doctors.
But even with the checkups, exercise and occasional family meals during the week, the stresses on NFL coaches are high.
As much as the Ravens try to create a healthy work-life balance, the pressure of winning is still a harsh reality in NFL.
"You try to do the best you can, but we're trying to win some football games, and it's competitive," Harbaugh said. "You've got a bunch of highly competitive people clashing every Sunday, and the stakes are high. We're playing a kid's game. 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. And that's OK, but that doesn't make it any less demanding."