Former Minnesota football player dies at 22

Yahoo Sports
Minnesota offensive guard Nick Connelly died at age 22. (Via University of Minnesota)
Minnesota offensive guard Nick Connelly died at age 22. (Via University of Minnesota)

A former Minnesota offensive guard has died at age 22, his father announced. Nick Connelly, an offensive tackle who retired last season due to concussions, died after a three-month battle with cancer.

“On Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, Heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call,” Chuck Connelly’s statement read. “Nick was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in June 2018. Burkitt’s is a very rare, aggressive cancer. Nick was winning the battle through aggressive chemotherapy until the cancer became resistant to all chemo regimens. Nick was a beautiful big strong young athlete with a very kind heart and a great smile.”

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Connelly, a redshirt sophomore, played in five games for the Golden Gophers. He retired last October after suffering a concussion in a game against Purdue.

“Nick enjoyed his friends, hunting ducks, geese, deer and pheasants with his dad and brothers and eating mom’s cooking,” Chuck Connelly’s statement continued. “Nick also enjoyed playing football for his home state team Minnesota Golden Gophers. Nick’s other enjoyments included snowboarding in the mountains, grilling, smoking meat and cooking. Nick attended River Valley Church in downtown Minneapolis.”

“#Gophers mourn the loss of former offensive tackle Nick Connelly,” Minnesota football’s Twitter account said. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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