Ten questions about life off the field with Carolina Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn:
Q. You’re part of One Team for the Cure, the NFL Players Association initiative to support a Washington, D.C., cancer center. Do you have a personal connection?
A. My own foundation is Blackburn Chasing the Cure, which is breast cancer and childhood cancers, specifically Ewing’s sarcoma. We’ve had two guys in my hometown (Marysville, Ohio) with Ewing’s. I played with Mark Herzlich in New York, who has Ewing’s. And my mother-in-law (Kelly Daum) is a breast cancer survivor, as well as her sister.
Q. So this is something that hits close for you?
A. Yeah, this is something that has been in the works for a few years. We’ve done some different stuff for breast cancer. My wife’s whole family will do the Race for the Cure here Saturday. It’s a big deal.
Q. Has your wife (Megan) gotten checked?
A. My wife actually did. She got checked for the gene and all that stuff. She’s clear, as far as that specific gene goes. Obviously, there’s other factors to it.
Q. Before this initiative, were you a guy who wore the pink in October?
A. No doubt. I’ve done it forever. And one year in New York, I tried to get a bunch of guys’ cleats for my own charities and my fundraisers. A few years ago when they first started the pink, when my mother-in-law was first diagnosed, they had a big fundraiser.
Q. How’s she doing?
A. She’s in 100 percent remission. It’s been five years. She had a double mastectomy. She went through the chemo.
Q. Was that a rough time for your family?
A. Yeah. My wife and them had already been through it with her aunt. To go through it again with her, my wife was coming back and forth from New York to (Marysville) trying to be with her mom as much as she could for treatments and support system.
Q. DeAngelo Williams obviously has such a personal involvement with the pink and breast cancer awareness. But with him not playing this week, will you need to carry the torch?
A. Every year it’s a great deal. In New York they used to do a big deal where they had survivors on the field, do the tunnel. My mother-in-law got to do that, go out there. It was really cool. So these games have always been special (during) Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Q. Weren’t you and Megan high school sweethearts?
A. Yep, went to the same high school. She’s a couple years younger. I was stealing, I was robbing (the cradle). She’s a little younger.
Q. You’ve been together how many years?
A. My senior year in high school, so how many’s that? We’ve been married for six years.
Q. And you’ve got three boys (all under 4). Are they into football, yet?
A. Oh, yeah. They came to the team store. My wife sent me a video, asking (2-year-old) Bentley what jersey he wanted. He wants a Luke (Kuechly) jersey. My kids and (Greg) Olsen’s kids apparently love Luke more than us.
One Team for the Cure t-shirts, benefitting the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, are available at shop.nflpa.com.