Last February we were hit with the sad news of former Trojan, and current Minnesota Vikings, Kenechi Udezi being diagnosed with Leukemia. It was somewhat shocking to believe that a man that stood as a structure of strength and force on a football field was weakened by a disease that eventually led to his wearing of a mask to protect from infections. There was uncertainty of his future, and life became the priority over the game he loved to play.
Since then, Udezi has received a bone marrow transplant, using his brother Thomas Barnes as a donor. And on Sunday, 9 months after being diagnosed with the illness, Udezi made an appearance before the fans of the Metrodome. Being in good spirits and fairly good health, he said his feet are slow to react to treatment, but promised a return to the Vikings roster in 2009. This still remains to be seen, but the progress he’s made in such a short period of time is promising.
Kenechi Udezi was a member of the 2003 USC National Championship team. He played with Mike Patterson on a defensive line that was dubbed “The Wild Bunch II”, and was later drafted 20th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2004 NFL draft. He started 15 games in his rookie season.