Raiders’ Nick O’Leary reveals recent heart surgery, will skip 2020 season, back in 2021


TAMPA, FL – AUGUST 16: Tight End Nick O’Leary #83 of the Miami Dolphins warms up in the rain before a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

(CBS Sports) – In late May, the Las Vegas Raiders placed tight end Nick O’Leary on the Reserve/NFI list. At the time, many thought he was hanging up the cleats for good, but O’Leary revealed on Monday that he was dealing with a serious heart issue that put his career in jeopardy. According to the Palm Beach Post, O’Leary had surgery to clear 100 percent blockage to the heart last month, but is expected to make a full recovery and is hoping he can resume his football career next season. O’Leary underwent an angioplasty on May 19 — one of two procedures he had to correct this issue. 

“I feel good,” O’Leary said. “I feel better than I did before. I’ve got to be on blood thinners for six months to a year. That’s really the only reason now why I can’t play football. If I (got cut), they said that would be the biggest problem, wouldn’t be able to stop the bleeding.”

O’Leary was working out when he felt a sharp pain in his left arm that moved to his chest, and it was a pain that came back again while he was playing pickleball with his brother. 

“I said sarcastically to my brother there’s something wrong with my heart, I don’t know what it is,” O’Leary said. “I happened to go to the hospital, and they told me it was a heart attack.”

He ended up having to spend three nights at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and had two stents placed into the blocked passageway. While he still isn’t allowed to take part in certain exercises, O’Leary says that he would still like to resume his NFL career in 2021. 

O’Leary evolved into a star during his collegiate career at Florida State, and even won the John Mackey Award during his senior season. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars before finding himself courted by the Raiders. In 59 career games, O’Leary has caught 53 passes for 668 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 12.6 yards per reception.  

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