Gophers' holder, 5-time cancer survivor Casey O'Brien retires from football

Casey O'Brien (left) and P.J. Fleck (right) embrace after O'Brien made his  college football debut in a game against Rutgers during the 2019 season. Photo: Big Ten Network. Casey O'Brien (left) and P.J. Fleck (right) embrace after O'Brien made his college football debut in a game against Rutgers during the 2019 season.

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: January 13, 2021 09:49 PM
Created: January 13, 2021 09:41 PM

University of Minnesota Gophers' holder and five-time cancer survivor Casey O'Brien is ending his football career.

In a social media post on Wednesday night, O'Brien thanked the university, its fans and college football for the experience and platform it provided him, and the medical team at Masonic Children's Hospital for their work.

"For me, I'm excited to put my degree to work and start my professional career in financial planning in a few weeks," O'Brien said.

Gopher football's Casey O'Brien rides ever-positive attitude to 5th triumph over cancer

O'Brien has been a beacon of inspiration during his battles against cancer, and his battle to take the field as a Gopher. He made his debut during the team's historic 2019 season and then began chemotherapy treatment shortly after the Gophers returned from their Outback Bowl win over Auburn. As he'd done four times before, O'Brien again beat cancer just a few days before wrapping up his spring semester final exams.

And while he's stepping away from football, O'Brien offered some more encouragement for those battling cancer.

"To all the kids out there fighting cancer, keep fighting. I will always be there for you," he said.

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