Just a week after undergoing heart transplant surgery, former NFL player and executive Matt Millen said he is feeling better and figuring out his second act.
“I have not been spared for nothing,” Millen told NBC Sports’ Peter King, who has been following Millen’s medical condition in his weekly “Football Morning in America” column.
“I feel like I have more of a purpose now — I just have to find out what it is. I’ve got to figure out what my Holy Grail is for the rest of my life. I can’t waste this opportunity.”
Millen, 60, waited three months for a match in Newark Beth Israel Hospital. He had been suffering from a rare disease, called amyloidosis, that attacks the lining of the heart.
“When my doctor took out my heart, he saw how much it was damaged,” Millen told King. “It was awful. He said I must have tremendous reserve from training. That thing was so stiff and hard the doc didn’t know how it was still contracting to pump the blood.”
Millen said his new heart came from a 26-year-old man who died from a drug overdose.
Millen won four Super Bowls in a 12-year NFL career with the Raiders, 49ers and Redskins from 1980-91. After a broadcasting stint, he served as team president of the Detroit Lions from 2001-08. He stepped away from his role with the Big Ten Network this fall to concentrate on his health issues.
The day after Millen’s Christmas Eve surgery, 65-year-old Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in Major League Soccer history, died while waiting for a heart to become available.
–Field Level Media