football-fbs flag

Jacob Myers | NCAA.com | September 22, 2018

Minnesota and Maryland wear helmet stickers to honor former Gophers player Nick Connelly who died this week

Minnesota football players honored former teammate Nick Connelly with helmet stickers at Saturday's game.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers took the field Saturday with heavy hearts following the death of former offensive lineman Nick Connelly on Wednesday. To symbolize their compassion for Connelly and his family, each member of the Gophers had a sticker put on their helmets with the initials “NC.”

Maryland, the Gophers' opponent this week, also added a sticker to its players’ helmets with Connelly’s number 74 in an outline of the state of Minnesota next to its “79” sticker for former Maryland player Jordan McNair, who died earlier this year.

Some members of the Gophers also wore wristbands in remembrance of Connelly.

Connelly started the first five games for coach P.J. Fleck and Minnesota in 2017 at right tackle before retiring due to concussions. Connelly was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called Burkitt's lymphoma. His father, Chuck Connelly, said Thursday on Twitter that "heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call.”

Fleck said this week during a press conference that Nick would be in the team’s thoughts and prayers and each player had “humble hearts” moving forward.

“Any time you have cancer, it's one of those battles that none of us want a family member to have and go through personally,” Fleck said. “He's got incredible resolve, and he's a wonderful human being. I know he's got a lot of teammates praying for him and supporting him.”

10 college basketball National Player of the Year candidates, ranked

These are 10 men's basketball mid-season National Player of the Year candidates, ranked by NCAA.com's Andy Katz.
READ MORE

Michigan vs. Wisconsin prediction and picks for 8 more major men's college basketball games

Andy Katz predicts No. 2 Baylor at No. 15 Texas Tech and more major men's college basketball games this week.
READ MORE

These 5 scoring duos are making an impact in the 2020-21 men's basketball season

These five scoring duos are making an impact during the 2020-21 men's college basketball season.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners