Ailing Cards assistant known for toughness

Cards QB Coach Undergoes Heart Surgery (0:39)

Adam Schefter reacts to the news that Cardinals QB coach Freddie Kitchens underwent heart surgery. (0:39)

Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens developed a reputation for toughness while playing through knee, shoulder and chest injuries at Alabama.

Heart issues fall into a different category, of course.

Kitchens, stricken by dizziness during practice Tuesday, has received a positive early prognosis after undergoing heart surgery.

"During Tuesday’s practice Freddie Kitchens began to feel ill -- dizzy, light-headed -- and was sent to the training room," team vice president Mark Dalton reported. "After being evaluated by the team’s medical staff it was determined that he should be taken to the hospital for more evaluation and testing.

"During that process, a CT scan revealed a defect to his aorta that required surgery, which he had Tuesday night at the Arizona Heart Institute. According to the doctors who performed the surgery, it went very well and the early prognosis is positive. The Kitchens family is grateful to everyone who has and continues to extend their support, well wishes and prayers."

Kitchens, married with two daughters, played quarterback at the University of Alabama in the 1990s. The Cardinals hired him to coach tight ends beginning in 2007, when Ken Whisenhunt was head coach. The team promoted him to quarterbacks coach this offseason even while the Cardinals changed head coaches. One key: new coach Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator at Alabama when Kitchens played there.

It's too early to know when Kitchens, 38, might resume his coaching duties with the Cardinals. Arians has adjusted on the fly before, including when he became the Indianapolis Colts' interim head coach following Chuck Pagano's cancer diagnosis.

The chart below shows Kitchens and the other offensive-minded coaches in the NFC West.

Related: a Kitchens profile with background information on how he got into coaching.

2013 NFC West Offensive Coaches