Flaherty to work while undergoing treatment

Updated: June 8, 2004, 11:18 AM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Recently hired New York Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

Flaherty, 48, plans to work as much as possible while undergoing treatment, which will include surgery, the Giants said in a statement Tuesday.

"I feel good and I look forward to coaching this season as I do every season," said Flaherty, whose illness was discovered during the team's annual physical.

The Giants have hired Pat Ruel to work with Flaherty and assistant offensive line coach-quality control coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

Ruel and DeGuglielmo will coach the line if Flaherty has to take time off during treatment.

"Our first priority is Pat Flaherty's health," coach Tom Coughlin said.

"Because of the nature of the treatment, Pat is going to have a certain amount of down time, and we were fortunate that Pat Ruel was available to help in those situations."

Coughlin added Flaherty to his new staff on Jan. 26.

Flaherty had worked the previous three seasons as the Chicago Bears' tight ends coach. He joined the NFL in 2000 in a similar position with the Washington Redskins.

Flaherty coached in the college ranks between 1980 and 1999, working at East Stroudsburg, Penn State, Rutgers, East Carolina, Wake Forest and Iowa.

Ruel, 53, was the offensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills last season. He has 30 years of coaching experience, mostly in the college ranks. He joined the NFL as the offensive line coach of the Detroit Lions in 2000. He spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons as the assistant offensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers.

Coughlin was hired in January to replace Jim Fassel, who was fired after a 4-12 season.

One of the Giants' major weaknesses was theoffensive line, which was decimated by injuries during the season and the loss of two starters to free agency after the 2002 season.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press