GILMER, TX (KLTV) - The Buckeyes are rolling again this year, and outside linebackers' coach Tim Russell is savoring every moment.
"I enjoy the little things more than I ever have before because having this situation in my life has allowed me to really appreciate the little things," said Russell.
A month before practice started, a routine physical turned up an anomaly in his blood. A colonoscopy led them to find cancer. In a week, Russell went from healthy to cancer patient, to grateful survivor.
"I don't know how people do it without faith. I was able to know that if it was the worst case scenario, then that was God's will and we could work through it. I don't know why I'm so blessed, but I feel blessed."
Surgery and a hospital stay revealed the cancer hadn't spread before it was found and removed. Now, Russell says his sudden brush with death is a part of him.
"I can't put it completely out of my mind, and I don't know I want to. I want to have it there, so I have a better appreciation of every good friend I have to this day."
As the Buckeyes charge towards the playoffs again, Russell is there, enjoying every play on the field, and every minute off of it.