EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman says the aggressive cancer he was diagnosed with last month is in remission.
Speaking to the media for the first time since the Giants disclosed in early June that he had lymphoma, Gettleman said today he’s had four rounds of chemotherapy and will need another three more to complete his treatment.
The 67-year-old Gettleman returned to the Giants earlier this year to replace the fired Jerry Reese. He says he is feeling better than expected, but is limited in what he can do.
“I feel really good and sometimes I feel like I am apologizing for that,” Gettleman said. “But you know my energy is good. I don’t mind telling you chemo ain’t fun. There has been a couple of days where ‘whef,’ it rocks your world. Now that I am going through it … my gosh, it’s not fun.”
Gettleman said when he gets treatment he has to stay in the hospital for three or four days. When he is in the office, he works roughly from 10 a.m. to 7 or 7:30 p.m.
The treatments have weakened Gettleman’s immune system and he said he can’t have much contract with people. He has to watch training camp practices from a distance in the shade, eat alone and can’t fly on airplanes. He is going to miss the Giants’ workouts in Detroit with the Lions next month.
Gettleman also predicted he would return to his job full-time this season. He also plans to take part in the upcoming contract talks for star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Gettleman said it was weird hearing from his physician, Dr. Andre Goy, that he was in remission.
“Just all of a sudden you go from, within a five-week period I’m told I’ve got aggressive lymphoma, and in five weeks, he said everything is going to be OK. That’s a quick turnaround,” said Gettleman, who served as the Carolina Panthers’ general manager from 2013-16.
Gettleman spoke to the Giants players after they reported to training camp Wednesday, saying that he told them two things.
The first was about the importance of being a team, and was highlighted by a recent comment from New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello after center John Tavares signed as a free agent with Toronto earlier this month.
“Lou made a great statement, which I believe in and subscribe to, in that individuals win games and teams win championships,” Gettleman said.
The other point Gettleman stressed was that the players have earned the right to be in training camp and now it was up to them to make the 53-man roster and the 47-man dress squad for games.
Gettleman also showed he has not lost his sense of humor, noting that he told the players it feels different being bald. The chemo caused his hair to fall out.
“It’s weird now getting up with a head of hair and looking at that face,” Gettleman said.
Gettleman said the cancer has not changed his approach to life, adding he firmly believes it is centered for him on faith, family and football.
“Life is precious,” he said. “I don’t care what it is, you just can’t not appreciate how important people are and how, really, we’re in the people business. At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you make. It really isn’t, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s really about what you do with your gifts, and family is our true legacy.”