A former member of the Minnesota Vikings that had his career ended by health issues is continuing to rise up the coaching ranks in his post-playing career.
Kenechi Udeze, the Vikings' first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, was named the defensive line coach at his alma mater, the University of Southern California.
Udeze, the Trojans' all-time leader in sacks, was selected by the Vikings at #20 overall in 2004, and played four seasons with the Vikings. Then, in January of 2008, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He underwent treatment that caused him to miss the entire 2008 season, and though he attempted to come back in 2009, he decided that his body wasn't up to it and announced his retirement.
Since then, Udeze has made several stops as a coach. He started out as the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Washington under Steve Sarkisian, and then moved on to be an assistant with the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll, the man that coached him in college. He found his way back to USC after a stop at the University of Pittsburgh, and received his highest coaching position to date yesterday.
It's nice to see things work out for a guy like Udeze after he caught a few tough breaks. Even though his career with the Vikings got cut short for reasons beyond his control, he didn't let it stop him from continuing to pursue his larger goals in the sport of football. Congratulations to Kenechi Udeze for continuing to make his way through the coaching ranks.