Broncos running backs coach coach Eric Studesville
Broncos running backs coach coach Eric Studesville (Daniel Petty, Denver Post file)

It was a somber start to an offseason workout.

Broncos head coach John Fox gathered his players and assistant coaches Wednesday morning and told them the parents of running backs coach Eric Studesville died in a Texas traffic accident.

Alfonso Studesville, 67, and his wife Janet Studesville, 68, were riding a motorcycle Tuesday on U.S. 54 when a truck towing a grain trailer veered into their lane and struck them head-on, according to a report by the ABC-TV affiliate in Amarillo, Texas.

"Our most heartfelt condolences go to Eric Studesville and his entire family following the tragic loss of his parents, Al and Jan Studesville," the Broncos said in a statement. "We were devastated to learn of their passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eric and his family, and our organization will support them however possible during this difficult time."

Eric Studesville has been an NFL coach for 17 years, the last four as the Denver running backs coach. He gained national prominence in December 2010 when he replaced fired Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels with four games remaining in the season. In his brief stint as Denver's 13th head coach, Studesville helped restore honor and integrity to a franchise that arguably was at its lowest point in team history. Not only were they reeling with a 3-9 record when Studesville took control, the Broncos were embarrassed by a videotaping scandal.

Alfonso Studesville attended many Broncos practices during his son's interim reign. In a Denver Post feature about Eric Studesville and his father, a story was told about Alfonso pulling his son, a star player at age 10, off the hockey team.

"I made him pack up all his hockey stuff in front of the team and go in and turn it all in because his grades had slipped," said Al, who was a career counselor at Madison Technical College. "I said, 'I told you, you could do all of this as long as your school is going good. School's not good? No sports!' "

In the feature, Eric Studesville talked about how he was raised by his parents. "I'm glad it was like that," he said. "Even if you don't achieve everything you're trying for, you're striving. It was grades, grades, grades, but the real mantra in my life was effort. That's what I still have today. The root of what my dad wanted was your best at all times — and whatever your best was, he was going to be fine with that."

The Broncos practiced Wednesday with heavy hearts. Afterward, coaches and players gathered with the team chaplain for prayer. The team canceled its scheduled news conferences.

The Broncos have their final organized team activity (OTA) on Thursday and will reassemble Tuesday for the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp at Dove Valley headquarters.