Matt Millen, the former NFL linebacker and Detroit Lions CEO who now works as an analyst for the Big Ten Network, might require a heart transplant as he battles a rare, incurable disease called amyloidosis.
According to The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Millen was diagnosed with amyloidosis last summer after years of symptoms. He has reportedly undergone chemotherapy almost every Monday for the past eight months while maintaining a busy television schedule.
Amyloidosis is a condition in which amyloid protein builds up in bone marrow, tissue and organs. It has no cure but is treatable. Per The Morning Call, doctors have told Millen his heart is currently operating at about 30 percent capacity.
Millen has been involved in football for most of the past four and a half decades. After a decorated career as a linebacker at Penn State, he was a second-round pick in the 1980 NFL Draft, then spent the next 12 seasons with pro franchises — making one Pro Bowl and winning two Super Bowls. After retiring in 1991, he worked as a color commentator for CBS and Westwood One before being hired as Lions CEO in 2001. Following his less-than-stellar tenure in Detroit, he returned to TV with ESPN and NFL Network. He has called games for BTN since 2015 while also contributing to FS1 studio coverage.
The Morning Call reports that Millen has remained on air during his illness and that he plans to return to the booth this fall.
Millen seems to have an upbeat outlook on a very difficult situation. Via The Morning Call:
“I’ve always lived this way,” Millen said. “You take what you get. I look over my life, and it’s been a storybook. I have an awesome family, a phenomenal wife, and you can’t ask for more.
“So you’re not supposed to take the good with the bad? When a bump comes up in the road, you deal with it,” he said. “It’s ridiculous to feel sorry for yourself. I’m thankful for what I have, and I’ll take what I get.”
We wish him all the best in his treatment.