ESPN issued this statement to Awful Announcing:
As he mentioned on the air today … Merril is having heart surgery to repair a vessel. The procedure has been planned for several weeks. His health is strong and he has great doctors. He expects to make a full recovery and will be out several weeks.
We wish Merril a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back on our NFL coverage later this fall.
Hoge, 50, played seven seasons with the Steelers before coming to the Bears in 1994. He played just five games before successive concussions ended his career.