Aug 14, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT
Notre Dame announced this morning that graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy is taking a leave of absence from the football team to battle cancer. The former Irish captain is in his first season working with the Irish under Brian Kelly after retiring from the NFL.
McCarthy has begun chemotherapy treatment.
“A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a very treatable form of cancer,” McCarthy said in the statement. “Yesterday, I began chemotherapy as the next step in eliminating this disease. I’m truly blessed to have such amazing love and support from family and friends.
“Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks. I expect a full recovery and look forward to returning to the team during and after my treatment. Go Irish!”
Working with the secondary, McCarthy has been praised for his impressive work thus far in his return to his alma mater. Looking like a natural fit as a football coach, Kelly and the Irish staff are 100 percent behind McCarthy in his recovery.
“Kyle’s attitude and outlook toward his treatment is remarkable,” Kelly said in the statement. “We will support him the entire way. We are very confident he’ll receive the necessary treatment to make a complete recovery.”
McCarthy tallied 240 tackles in his Notre Dame career and served as the team captain of Charlie Weis’ 2009 team. He spent time with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders before retiring from the NFL.
McCarthy’s return date to the program is unknown, though his battle with cancer is one very close to Kelly’s heart, with the Kelly Cares foundation dedicated to early detection of cancer after Paqui Kelly overcame two bouts with cancer.
Notre Dame’s coaching staff is already short-handed with offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock recovering from a surgical procedure.