Former Vikings coach Brad Childress has spent part of the past two weeks recovering from COVID-19, which he caught while recuperating from surgery to remove a varicose vein from one of his legs.
“You think you’re not going to get it, and you think you’re doing everything you can and, you know what, it’s a sneaky son of a gun,” said Childress, 64, who coached the Vikings from 2006 through the middle of the 2010 season. “I got a light case of it. I had a dull headache, some upper respiratory stuff. My fever only got as high as 99. In any other year, I would have thought it was just my allergies acting up.”
Childress and his daughter, Cara, had to miss Childress’ father-in-law’s funeral because of coronavirus.
“My wife’s had a hard time losing both her mom and dad in the past month and a half,” Childress said.
He and his daughter went down from the family’s home in Mound to Aurora, Ill., the day before the funeral, but found out the next morning that his son-in-law tested positive for the coronavirus. He has been working from Childress’ basement.
“I heard him coughing down there,” Childress said. “I just thought, ‘Oh, he’s got three kids. Somebody’s always sniveling or sneezing or coughing.’ ”
Once Childress found out his son-in-law had it, he and his daughter drove back home and were tested. Both were positive.
“And I gave it to my brother,” Childress said. “That was a terrible feeling. But he had a light case, too.”
Childress and his wife, Dru-Ann, are at their place in Florida now. For how long, Childress has no idea.
“If there’s one thing I learned back from the Troy Williamson thing when his grandmother passed away, everybody grieves differently and you just never know how long it’s going to play itself out,” said Childress, referring to the uproar he caused when he fined Williamson for staying away from the team longer than Childress wanted.
Childress retired briefly when he left the Chiefs after the 2017 season. His ties to Matt Nagy brought him back to the Bears as offensive analyst in 2018 and senior offensive assistant in 2019. He retired again this spring.
“With all that’s happened in the world this year,” he said, “with COVID and how it’s impacted the NFL, this was a good time to retire.”