The Seahawks announced today Jesse Williams, one of their young defensive linemen who missed all of his first two seasons with the team because of a knee injury, will undergo kidney surgery after being diagnosed with papillary type 2 cancer.
Doctors found the cancerous cells last week, though it is not immediately known how far the cancer has progressed. Williams' surgery will be soon.
"Although disappointing, I am a fighter and will handle this," the 6-foot-3, 325-pound native of Australia said in a release from the team. "I am going to focus on my health and fighting this battle with a return to football as my ultimate goal. Thank you for your thoughts and support. Go Hawks!"
After the news broke today, Williams tweeted this:
The team also quoted general manager John Schneider: "Jesse is an extraordinarily tough individual who has overcome a great deal in his life and we will support him in any way possible. He is in our thoughts and prayers.”
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a renowned treatment and research center in New York, defines papillary type 2 cancer as representing "more than one category of disease but, as a group, are much more aggressive and may follow an unpredictable growth pattern." The cancerous cells have been found in Williams' main kidney area, as opposed to related tubes.
Sloan Kettering says the type of cancer Williams has occurs in 10 to 15 percent of all cases of kidney cancer.
Seattle drafted Williams, 24 and nicknamed "The Monstar," in the fifth round in 2013 out of Alabama and, before that, Arizona Western College. He was born on Thursday Island in the Australian state of Queensland.