Linebacker Chad Greenway returned to the Minnesota Vikings' facilities for the three-day mandatory minicamp, but his thoughts are still with his ailing father who is currently at the Mayo Clinic.
Greenway was in Minnesota for one day of organized team activities two weeks ago but called Vikings coach Leslie Frazier early in the morning before practice and said he had to leave to deal with a family matter. Greenway revealed Tuesday his father has been battling complications from leukemia, though the disease is currently in remission.
Greenway had spent part of the time away back in South Dakota and has been thankful for the time with family.
"We've spent a ton of time together and as a family," Greenway said Tuesday. "That's why I unfortunately missed the OTAs. That's something I'm not used to doing. With a situation like this, you just want to be able to spend as much time as you can with your family and with my mom just trying to help get things in order.
"But at the same time, I'm not the first person who has had to deal with something like this and I understand that. At a certain point you have to realize you have to go back to work and do what you do, my siblings included. We've sort of set up a schedule and we're hoping this is going to be a long process, but you just never know."
Greenway said his father Alan, 53, has been dealing with complications from the chemotherapy since early May.
"He's the man," Greenway said. "He's always been the man. He's been great. The physical appearance changes, but for us, he's the same guy."
Frazier said last week there was a chance Greenway would miss this week's mandatory minicamp, though he would be excused. When practiced open Tuesday, Greenway was there in his usual outside linebacker spot, with a closely-cropped haircut that was a change from his usual long hair.
He said it wasn't tough to come back to the Twin Cities for the mandatory minicamp and said it was probably time to get back to work, a sign of his humble and hard-working roots coming from a tiny town in South Dakota where his family still owns a farm. He joked last fall after signing a lucrative contract extension that his parents had to cut off the phone call when he told them the news because there were farming duties to tend to.
Greenway hasn't spent as much time back home as he used to since going to college at Iowa and being a first-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2006.
"Going away to college and coming up here right away, you don't spend as much time with your family as you obviously used to when you start your own family and stuff," Greenway said. "Over the last six weeks I've seen my dad more than I have over the last three years, which has been a blessing as part of this. It was an easy decision to come back to work. This is what I do. You never want to be a guy who the coach is saying he can get out of this. A lot of people have things going on in their lives. I just want to be here and go through it and be a part of it and try to get better."
But while he's practicing, his thoughts are with his father as well.
"Every day, every minute, you're thinking about it," Greenway said. "But at the same point, you have to go to work and it is a reprieve to be around my friends and be at work and do something that I love."
Brian Hall writes about the Vikings for Fox Sports North.
Greenway's thoughts remain with ailing father
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