New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells has much more to worry about right now than his NFL career, which is now all but over.

By Maddie Auerbach

On Sept. 16, 2015, New York Giants TE Daniel Fells missed practice due to a foot injury. While the discomfort certainly hindered Fells ability on the field, the pain was relatively minor. CBS Sports reported that Giants TE Larry Donnell would likely receive the most playing time in the TE position, but reports did not completely count Fells out.

How things can change in a month.

Two weeks ago, Fells was diagnosed with a MRSA infection while undergoing a routine treatment for an ankle injury. For those who do not know about the disease, MRSA is an extremely  life-threatening staph infection. MRSA is particularly dangerous because one of its key characteristics, according to the Mayo Clinic, is its ability to become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat typical staph infections.

Since then, Fells has undergone six surgeries; count ‘em. Six. The worst part is, those surgeries don’t seem to be helping him out all that much. Response to the latest doses of antibiotics were positive, which is certainly a good sign, but ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported early Thursday that due to the infection and the treatments and surgeries necessary to eradicate it, Fells will likely never play football again. At this point, the possibility still remains that Fells’ foot will need to be amputated. With the hopes of preventing the spread of the MRSA infection, this may ultimately be the choice that doctors make.

Over the course of the NFL veteran’s 8-year career, Fells has recorded 114 receptions, 1,334 yards, and 12 touchdowns. The 32-year old UC Davis grad was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. On January 7, 2014, Fells was signed by the Giants.

It’s easy to groan about fantasy football statistics and complain about the lack of valuable receivers besides Odell Beckham Jr. on the Giants offense. But stop right there. Unlike your typical hamstring pull or ankle sprain, Fells is currently experiencing one of the most life-threatening diseases out there. Fells’ infection shows that even though we may think of football players as superheroes who battle it out on the field, in reality, they’re just as susceptible to illnesses as everyone else.

Keep tabs on Daniel Fells over the next coming weeks. Not because Larry Donnell isn’t racking up ideal numbers — which he isn’t — or because you may have had Fells on your fantasy bench in a 16-team league. Check up on him because for once, he’s an NFL player who instead of being the invincible hero, is the vulnerable victim. And as New York sports fans, it’s our job to stick by his side anyway.

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I’m a current junior at Georgetown University, majoring in American Studies and minoring in Journalism. While I’m hugely obsessed with Georgetown basketball, I’m also a pretty serious New York Giants and New York Yankees fan. In addition to EliteSportsNY, I also have experience writing for iSportsWeb and work as a sports editor on my campus paper.