EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A familiar face is back on the field at the Minnesota Vikings' Winter Park facility. Kenechi Udeze, the 2004 first-round draft pick whose career was cut short when he was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia in 2008, is helping out as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship.
Udeze tried to play in 2009 but had to retire. He spent three seasons as an assistant strength coach at the University of Washington. Last year, Udeze was a coaching intern with the Seahawks.
"I remember visiting him in the hospital and seeing what he was going through," said coach Leslie Frazier, who was the Vikings' defensive coordinator at the time. "Every time I see him, I'm just amazed. It's almost like seeing a walking miracle, because at that time, when I was visiting him in the hospital, it was a concern about whether or not he survived much longer."
Udeze said, "I feel great. Yeah, I lost my career. But I'm still alive and I'm still here."