JACKSONVILLE – The news was as difficult as the circumstance.
George Yarno, the Jaguars’ veteran offensive line coach, has been diagnosed with cancer, Head Coach Gus Bradley said early Thursday afternoon.
Yarno will continue in his duties with assistance from assistant line coach Luke Butkus. He will not take a leave of absence, but Bradley said his treatment likely will force him to miss days of work.
Details of the cancer were not disclosed out of respect for Yarno’s privacy.
“I spoke to him quite a bit over the last couple of days and it’s been a tough situation,” Bradley said Thursday shortly after the third of 10 Jaguars organized team activities practices at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
“He has our full support in this fight that he’s about to undertake.”
Yarno, who missed Wednesday’s practice, worked with the Jaguars’ offensive line during practice Thursday, and opted not to speak to the media afterward.
Bradley said Yarno received positive news regarding treatment after learning test results Wednesday. Yarno spoke to the offensive line as a group about the issue Thursday.
“There’s initially the shock and the worry, but from what George told us everything’s real positive after that,” center
“He’s preparing Luke (Butkus) to get Luke some experience, and obviously we’re behind George and he’s in our prayers.”
Said Jaguars offensive tackle
Bradley said the team as a whole was informed of the situation in a Thursday team meeting.
“He’s received some positive news on his treatment options and how we’re going to go about attacking this,” Bradley said. “He’s confident in the treatment plan and felt really good after the initial part of it with the plan that the doctors have, and he’s actually excited about getting after this battle that he’s got. For us he just has our full support through this whole thing.”
Bradley added, “George knows that our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
Bradley said while Yarno will be away from the team at times while undergoing treatment, “He will continue his role as the offensive line coach so when he’s here he will be coaching the offensive line.”
“When he is away from the office we will act accordingly from the inside,” Bradley said.
Yarno, 56, is in his seventh NFL season as a coach and second year with the Jaguars. He played as an offensive guard with Tampa Bay (1979-83, 1985-87), Atlanta (1988) and Houston (1989) and with the Denver Gold of the USFL in 1984 and 1985.