Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians’ health issues in 2016 became a big story. We only knew a small bit of it.
In his new book, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” Arians said he was diagnosed with kidney cancer last December (h/t to Darren Urban at the Cardinals’ web site). Arians had a small portion of his kidney removed in February.
Arians went in to get a hernia checked and an ultrasound revealed a small spot on his kidney that was renal cell carcinoma. He continued to coach through the end of the season.
“Now I feel great,” Arians wrote, via AzCardinals.com. “My energy has returned. I’m told I’m cancer-free again. I’m ready for at least one more season of NFL football — maybe more.”
The last part, about his future, will be a regular question for Arians from here on out. It took a while for Arians to get his first head-coaching job, and he’s 64 years old. Arians might coach many more years, but his age and recent health issues puts that in doubt. He has done a great job with the Cardinals, but last season he missed a preseason game with diverticulitis and in November he was hospitalized with chest pains. Arians also tore his rotator cuff when Larry Fitzgerald hugged him too hard celebrating a late-season win at Seattle.
Urban writes that Arians battled prostate cancer in 2007 and had some cancerous cells scraped off his nose in 2013.
“Moving forward, I want to be a beacon of hope for others struggling with cancer,” Arians wrote. “My fight is their fight. I’m not coaching for myself in 2017; I’m coaching for everyone who’s dealing with cancer. This is my charge.”
The Cardinals are coming off a disappointing 7-8-1 season. Knowing all that Arians went through last season, coaching his team to seven wins is pretty impressive. Arians is probably hoping for a better record this year, but it would be a great season if he doesn’t have to deal with any more health scares.