Nick O’Leary is fortunately back in good spirits and hoping to return to the field for the 2021 NFL season after receiving surgery for a life-threatening heart issue.
According to Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post, O’Leary provided an encouraging update about his health and why he will be unable to play this season.
“I feel better than I did before. I’ve got to be on blood thinners for six months to a year. That’s really the only reason now why I can’t play football. If I [got cut], they said that would be the biggest problem, wouldn’t be able to stop the bleeding.”
While O’Leary’s health is the only priority right now, he revealed the Raiders are “going to leave the door open for next season” — which should lift up his spirits.
O’Leary initially felt some chest pains, so he visited the doctor’s office where he was informed that the right side of his heart was actually 100 percent blocked.
Thankfully, O’Leary underwent an angioplasty on May 19 and is expected to make a full recovery in the near future with no long-term damage to his heart.
The Raiders officially placed O’Leary on the reserve/non-football injury list earlier in the week and many thought that he was retiring after just five NFL seasons.
However, O’Leary is just taking a season away from the game in order to get completely healthy and make a strong comeback — hopefully with the Raiders.
During the 2019 season, O’Leary spent time with both the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars and posted 109 yards and one touchdown in 12 total games.
O’Leary has primarily been used as a blocking tight end and was going to provide those skills to a Raiders offensive line that struggled at times last season.
O’Leary has remained determined to return next season and was even willing to play in this upcoming season, but the Raiders ultimately prioritized his health.
O’Leary will likely need some time to recover before continuing to stay in shape and remaining ready to contribute to the Raiders offense when he eventually returns.