HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Indianapolis Colts and former University of Hawaii punter Rigoberto Sanchez will miss an unknown amount of time to have a cancerous tumor removed, Sanchez announced on Monday.
The former ‘Bow took to social media to announce that doctors were able to catch the tumor early, before it spread throughout his body — Sanchez is set to get it removed on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, there are things you can’t control in life and this is one of them.” Sanchez wrote in his post. “No plans or preparation would have gotten me ready for this kind of adversity, but like I told my wife, we can’t flinch. Keep striving to come back stronger than ever.”
Concerns about Sanchez’s health came to light on Sunday after he was absent from his normal kickoff duties in Indy’s loss to the Tennessee Titans — Sanchez only punted, while kicker Rodrigo Blankenship handled kickoffs.
Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich did not give much details about his punter’s health following the game, describing it only as a “physical issue.”
The Colts will now need to fill the void left by the 26-year-old, who signed with Indy as an undrafted free agent in 2017 quickly becoming one of the most reliable punters in the NFL, averaging 47.2 yards a punt this season — his efforts earning him a four-year, $11.6 million contract extension in 2019.
A junior college transfer from Butte Community College in California, Sanchez played for the Rainbow Warriors in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, handling both the punting and placekicking duties for the team — averaging 44.8 yards a punt, making 72 of his 74 extra points and 21 of his 24 field goals during his tenure with the ‘Bows.