Ryan Wetnight was an American professional football player who was a tight end for eight seasons with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in the National Football League. He finished his career with 175 receptions for 1542 yards and 9 touchdowns in 101 games. Ryan passed away at the age of 49 on Friday, May 1, after losing his battle with cancer.
Ryan Wetnight Biography
Ryan was born in Fresno, California United States, and attended Herbert Hoover High school and was a graduate of Stanford University.
Ryan Wetnight Family
Ryan Wetnight was married to Stacey Wetnight and the couple has two sons together. Scott and Zach.
Ryan Wetnight Career
Ryan Wetnight started playing football in high school and college. He then played for the Chicago Bears, and Green Bay packers. According to heavy.com Wetnight spent eight seasons in the league, seven with Chicago and one with Green Bay Packers. The Bears signed Wetnight as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford University in 1993, and he played with the team until 1999, starting 19 games while playing in 91 during that time. In his seven seasons with the Bears, Wetnight caught 172 passes for 1522 yards and nine touchdowns. He was an assistant coach at Grace Brethren and coached under Mike Sanders at Thousand Oaks High before that. He started his own real estate firm in addition to coaching high school ball. He returned to coaching high school football, serving as an assistant coach at Grace Brethren High, when his cancer returned.
Ryan Wetnight Illness
Wetnight first learned he had cancer in 2017, and he detailed the story of how he and his family learned about his diagnosis to NBC Sports last fall when he was still fighting the disease. He battled stage 4 gastric cancer for a year before being declared cancer-free in January of 2019. “I was having a hard time swallowing… food, drinks. This was October of 2017,” Wetnight said last fall when remembering his initial symptoms. “So I go to the doctor and then do an endoscopy, where they go down through the throat. And they find a mass that is in the upper portion of my stomach that is pushing into the esophagus… the lower portion of the esophagus, which was pinching off the esophagus. So every time I was eating or swallowing something, it would get to that point and it would get stuck or slowly try to pass that point of impingement,” Wetnight detailed.
“So it took a while, but eventually they diagnosed it with cancer. And then 2018 was difficult. I think I was in the operating room 10 times. And I went through eight rounds of chemo, fairly toxic chemo treatment. Long story short, I battled all the way through 2018 to get through all of these different procedures, multiple stays in the hospital, all the chemo treatments. They ended up removing the upper portion of my stomach and the lower portion of my esophagus and then tying it back together.”
Wetnight returned to coaching high school football, serving as an assistant coach at Grace Brethren High, when his cancer returned. His doctors found an inoperable tumor in his stomach that was too close to his spine to remove in the fall of 2019.
He spent five years as an assistant coach at Grace Brethren, and had been coaching under Mike Sanders at Thousand Oaks High prior to that. He was also a licensed realtor in the State of California, and he started his own real estate firm in addition to coaching high school ball.
Ryan Wetnight Death
Ryan Wetnight passed away at the age of 49 on Friday, May 1 after losing his battle with cancer. Bears in-house beat writer Larry Mayer broke the news on Twitter.
Very sad news: Former #Bears TE Ryan Wetnight lost his battle with cancer this morning, passing away at the age of 49. Wetnight spent seven seasons with the Bears from 1993-99. He is survived by his wife, Stacey, and their two sons.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) May 1, 2020
One of Wetnight’s former teammates, former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, replied to Meyer’s tweet saying, “Didn’t know he was sick. He was a talented player and a very good guy. Horrible news.”
Didn’t know he was sick. He was a talented player and a very good guy. Horrible news.
— Tom Waddle (@TWaddle87) May 1, 2020