According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, NFL umpire Bill Schuster will leave the field in November to undergo treatment for esophageal cancer.
The Super Bowl XLIX umpire noticed he had severe hiccups in the offseason. He went to the doctor and further testing revealed the cancer.
Schuster asked if he could work the entire 2015 season, but doctors told him his life would be in jeopardy if he delayed surgery. According to reports, Schuster then told the doctors to “shut me down.” Schuster will undergo cancer surgery in November. Doctors will remove his esophagus and form a new one by using part of his stomach. For now he’s officiating NFL games while taking radiation and chemotherapy treatments..
Referee Tony Corrente worked through the 2011 season while receiving similar treatments for throat cancer. He went on leave near the end of the season, but returned to officiate a wild card playoff game.
Schuster was hired by the NFL initially in 1997 to work NFL Europe games, and re-hired for the domestic NFL in 2000 after a couple of seasons in the Big East Conference. He is an insurance broker in upstate New York when he is not on the field.
Umpire Bruce Stritesky is a swing official, meaning he is not attached to any crew this season, and will likely be substituting for Schuster on Walt Coleman’s crew.
We offer prayers and best wishes for Schuster’s complete, cancer-free recovery. Feel free to leave a comment below, and we will forward the well wishes on to Bill.