Sunday, October 24, 2021

Brandon Staley’s journey: Chargers coach’s cancer battle defined him

LOS ANGELES – Chargers coach Brandon Staley will be on the national stage for the first time on Monday night when Los Angeles hosts the Las Vegas Raiders.

The story will be predictable. How Staley went from Division III defensive coordinator to NFL head coach in five years.

But Staley, 38, who coached the Broncos outside linebackers in 2019, also wants attention to go in another direction. Something that is more personal and real to him.

As the NFL launches its “Crucial Catch” initiative, Staley wants everyone to know about his most important victory — being a cancer survivor after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma 14 years ago.

“I wouldn’t be the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers if it weren’t for my cancer journey. Cancer has been the biggest, if not the biggest, reason why I’m here today.” “I think what cancer does is that it can bring out the best in you. I know it has brought out the best in me.”

Staley was in his first season as a graduate assistant in Northern Illinois in 2007, when doctors discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor on his right lung. The Perry, Ohio, native underwent six months of chemotherapy treatment in Cleveland during the off-season break. This was followed by six weeks of morning radiation sessions in Chicago during the season so that he could continue coaching.

Cancer has affected more than just Brandon. His mother Linda died of breast cancer in 2004. His father, Bruce, had thyroid cancer when Brandon was young and completed treatment for prostate cancer last year.

“You can’t do it on your own. I learned by watching my mom and my dad,” Staley said. “I think it takes so much more to believe in yourself than it takes to beat cancer. Too often, it’s knowing that there are other examples out there that show you you should believe. I watched it with my mom and dad. I was lucky it was personal. “

Jason Staley — Brandon’s twin brother and younger sibling 2 1/2 Minutes — said his brother’s approach to beating cancer has many similarities to his coaching philosophy and buying into those around him.

“He’s always had this special way to make you believe. Every time I talked to him, he explained, This is what’s happening, that’s what I’m doing, and that’s how we’re going to beat it,” Jason Staley he said.

“The way he approached it was very systematic. There were no peaks and valleys. It was one treatment at a time; find what progress you can make, and keep getting stronger and better.”

Nation World News Desk
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