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Raiders' Nick O'Leary recovering from heart attack, surgery for 100 percent blockage

Cassandra Negley
·2-min read

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Nick O’Leary underwent heart surgery to clear a 100 percent blockage in his artery after suffering a heart attack last month.

O’Leary, 27, told the Palm Beach Post that doctors said there’s no damage to his heart and he hopes to return to football next year when he’s off blood thinners. The Raiders placed him on the reserve/non-football injury list on Monday, sparking rumors of retirement for O’Leary, the grandson of golf great Jack Nicklaus.

The Raiders are “going to leave the door open” for his return next season, he told the Post.

O’Leary hospitalized after heart attack

O’Leary said he felt pain in his left arm that moved to his chest while working out and again while playing pickleball with his brother in May.

“I said sarcastically to my brother there’s something wrong with my heart, I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I happened to go to the hospital, and they told me it was a heart attack.”

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound player had two stents placed in the blocked artery, he said. His recovery has started with golf, biking and light workouts.

“I got all these friends, I’m in better shape than they’re in, I’m working out, I feel like I’m in good shape,” he said, via the Post. “For it to happen to me, I was in shock. I didn’t think that’s what it would be. For that to happen and me ending up being in the hospital for three days and having a heart issue is pretty weird.”

O’Leary unable to play in 2020-21

Nick O'Leary is feeling better after a heart attack and surgery. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Nick O'Leary is feeling better after a heart attack and surgery. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

O’Leary said he feels good and “better than I did before,” but due to being on blood thinners he isn’t able to do much football activity this year.

Blood thinners can prevent clotting, an issue if the person gets cut or scraped up.

O’Leary played at Florida State and began his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. He then spent a year and a half with the Miami Dolphins before finishing last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Raiders signed him in March. He has 53 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns in his career.

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