Former Bears assistant diagnosed with cancer

The assistant coach who has been responsible for overseeing Dustin Lyman's conversion from a college linebacker to Bears tight end has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Former Bears tight ends coach Pat Flaherty, who worked under former head coach Dick Jauron for three seasons in Chicago, has already begun treatment for colon cancer. <p>

After being fired along with virtually all of Jauron's staff, Flaherty was hired by new New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin to coach that team's offensive line.

During this week's minicamp, the Giants announced the hiring of Pat Ruel to help coach the line while Flaherty continues treatment.

"I will continue to coach the Giants' offensive line as long as my treatment makes that possible," said Flaherty in a statement released by the Giants. "I feel good and I look forward to coaching this season as I do every season."

Coughlin said Flaherty's illness was discovered as a result of yearly physicals provided by the Giants for coaches. His treatment will include surgery.

"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 said.

Flaherty is 48. He had coached in 2000 for Washington, where he helped Stephen Alexander win a Pro Bowl berth. He coached college football from 1980-1999, including a stint in 1982 at Penn State with a national championship team.

At Iowa in 1999, he was responsible for converting Robert Gallery from a tight end to an offensive tackle. Gallery went on to become the first offensive lineman chosen in this year's draft.

Flaherty has a wife, Lynne, and two children: Shawn and Colleen.


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