GREEN BAY - Before Mitchell Henry was released at the end of training camp, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy could tell something “just wasn’t quite right” with the tight end.
He could not have known at the time how serious Henry’s health condition was. Henry, who spent the past two training camps in Green Bay, recently began treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, according to his brother, Ben Henry, who started a website to help raise money for treatment.
McCarthy said “a number of people” inside the Packers organization have reached out to Henry for support.
“You could see the impact when we got the news the other day,” McCarthy said. “I think it knocked all of us over. And, frankly, it explained some things, too. Because Mitchell just wasn’t quite right in training camp.”
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Henry might have still been with the Packers if not for a hand injury during the preseason that sent him to injured reserve. The Packers agreed to an injury settlement, and Henry signed with the Baltimore Ravens practice squad in November.
The Ravens released Henry a week later with the intention of re-signing him. Henry went home during the week, according to his brother, and started having severe shoulder pain. An MRI revealed a growth in his chest
“If not for the (seemingly terrible idea at the time) release by the Ravens,” Ben Henry wrote on the website, “Mitchell may not have been able to be in Kentucky while his treatments occur and it possibly could have taken weeks longer to determine a diagnosis.”
Acute myeloid leukemia, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets. It is the form of leukemia NBA analyst Craig Sager has successfully battled since April, 2014.
“We don’t know the extent of it,” McCarthy said. “We just know what the initial diagnosis is, but he will definitely get support from the Green Bay Packers.”