In the first round of the 2004 National Football League Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected defensive end Kenechi Udeze out of the University of Southern California with the 20th overall selection. After four up-and-down seasons with the Vikings, Udeze was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2008. He went on injured reserve in July of 2008, missing the entire season.
He attempted to come back after his leukemia went into remission, but he never regained the physical strength that he had prior to chemotherapy. After giving it a go in the Vikings' 2009 training camp, he announced his retirement from football.
Udeze returned to Southern Cal in 2010 to finish his college degree, graduating with a degree in sociology. He then went on to work for Steve Sarkisian, a former USC assistant, at the University of Washington as a strength coach, as well as working with the defensive line. Today, however, after a three-year absence, Udeze is back in the National Football League.
Good to see you back in the National Football League, Coach Udeze. Here's to your continued success going forward.