Getting cut by the Baltimore Ravens could wind up saving tight end Mitchell Henry's life.
Henry, who was released from the Ravens' practice squad last month and has spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos in his two-year NFL career, has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, according to his brother, Ben Henry, on a website to help raise money for treatment.
According to a source, the tight end from Western Kentucky began to experience pain in his shoulder a few days after he was cut Nov. 10 by the Ravens, who told Henry they intended to re-sign him the following week. The Ravens told Henry to stay in Baltimore after he was released, but he wanted to go home to spend the weekend hunting with his father and be with his wife, Madison.
While in Kentucky, Henry went to a hospital where doctors found a mass in his chest.
Henry is undergoing chemotherapy, the source said, and a match is being sought for a bone marrow transplant.
"He's in tough shape, but he's in good spirits," the source said. "He's a man of faith, and he's already started treatments."
Henry took physicals with the Ravens and three other teams that had him in for workouts this season, and none found the mass in his chest, the source said.
According to the National Cancer Center, AML is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells or platelets.
Ben Henry wrote that his brother has limited health insurance.
"The goal of this campaign financially is threefold: 1) To help reduce the expense burden that will be on a pair of newlyweds in Mitchell and Madison 2) To help with family expenses that Mitchell's parents will incur through travels and stays to be close to their son and 3) To help with BeTheMatch," Ben Henry wrote.
Several Packers players have tweeted about Henry, and retired quarterback Peyton Manning has reached out to him.
Just goes to show that he is a even better person off the field. He truly was a man of God. pic.twitter.com/j5TicgIuFX— Mitchell Henry (@mitchhenry85) December 5, 2016
Henry, who turns 24 on Dec. 11, broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Packers in 2015. He was released at the end of training camp but was claimed off waivers by the Broncos. He returned to the Packers midway through last season, joining the practice squad. In training camp, Henry broke his hand for the second straight summer and was released.
"Well, I know a number of people already have," McCarthy said Monday on whether the Packers had reached out to Henry. "You could see the impact when we got the news the other day. 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. We don't know the extent of it. We just know what the initial diagnosis is, but he will definitely get support from the Green Bay Packers."