EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings want Kenechi Udeze to focus on his fight against leukemia and not worry about his financial situation.
The defensive end was placed on the reserve-non-football-illness list Friday, coach Brad Childress announced. That makes him ineligible to participate in the 2008 season, but guarantees him his $807,500 salary for the year. Udeze revealed two weeks ago that the cancer was in remission, and that his older brother has matching bone marrow for a pending transplant.
“He can focus on getting well. He’s done a great job with that so far. He’s been positive. He’s been upbeat,” said Childress, who praised owner Zygi Wilf for the decision.
Since the cause of Udeze’s illness is not football related, the Vikings were under no obilgation to pay his salary for 2008.
Udeze signed a five-year contract as a first-round draft pick out of Southern California in 2004 and will be a free agent next March. Once the season is over, Childress said the Vikings will revisit Udeze’s status.
A very nice humanitarian gesture by the Vikings ownership and management. As a fellow cancer survivor, I wish Udeze good luck in his battle against leukemia. My half sister Patty is also a leukemia survivor.
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