Gibbs struggling with grandson's leukemia diagnosis

Updated: January 24, 2007, 5:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A 2-year-old grandson of Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy.

Zachary Taylor Gibbs -- the youngest son of NASCAR executive J.D. Gibbs -- was ruled to have leukemia nearly three weeks ago. He has had surgery and is undergoing a three-year treatment plan that includes weekly rounds of chemotherapy.

"It's been a real challenge for us," Gibbs said Wednesday during a press event for his NASCAR team. "You see a little guy like that -- we went down for those first surgeries and they put him out, and maybe it's good he's only 2 because I don't think he'll remember any of this.

"But it sure puts a different perspective on a lot of things."

The diagnosis came after the boy's parents took him to be examined for what they thought was nothing more serious than a cold.

"I think it was one of those things where he had some blood work and they sent him down to the hospital," J.D. Gibbs said. "And the next thing you know, he's in there a week."

Joe Gibbs, who has seven grandchildren, recently suffered through what he called his "worst" season as a professional coach. He won a career-low five games, changed quarterbacks at midseason and has had both of his offensive and defensive coordinators criticized by his own players. He fired linebackers coach Dale Lindsey after the season and has only one first-day selection in the upcoming draft (sixth overall).

The Hall of Fame coach is about to enter the fourth year of a five-year contract, a deal he has vowed to complete, assuming his health holds up. He turned 66 last season and often talked about spending offseason time with his "grandbabies."

J.D. Gibbs, his oldest son, serves as president of Joe Gibbs Racing in North Carolina, and Gibbs' other son, Coy, is an offensive quality control coach for the Redskins. Between them, they have six sons and one daughter.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.