Foster Moreau makes “miraculous” debut with Saints
METAIRIE – New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr called teammate Foster Moreau’s participation in the team’s first OTA of the offseason Tuesday “miraculous.”
Moreau invoked the same adjective to describe the diagnosis that made his participation so improbable.
Miracles can happen.
“I’m just blessed to be here,” Moreau said. “It’s been a long couple of months.”
Tuesday marked 62 days since Moreau shared the news with the world.
He had recently undergone a routine physical as part of a visit with the Saints in hopes of signing as a free agent with his hometown team.
But the physical proved to be anything but routine.
Moreau took to Twitter to share the “life-changing” news.
The tight end who would turn 26 just a few weeks later was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and announced that instead of playing in the city where he played for Jesuit High School and in the backyard of where he played at LSU he would be “stepping away from football” to “fight a new opponent: Cancer.”
Hearing the word “cancer” was the “biggest knife in the heart that I could have possibly gotten,” Moreau said.
“I went home and cried,” he recalled. “It was a really tough moment.
“So much stress built up throughout the entire free agency process and all of that just melted away with a completely different mountain that now had to be climbed.”
Dr. John Amoss, one of the Saints team physicians, had discovered an enlarged lymph node in Moreau’s left clavicle that was a result of the lymphoma.
At the end of his three-part tweet, Moreau said he would “go kick this thing’s ass and get back to doing what I love.” He concluded his message with “AMDG!”
AMDG is an acronym for the Latin phrase “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” the motto of the Society of Jesus, which means “For the Greater Glory of God.” Students at Jesuit learn to inscribe AMDG at the top of quizzes, tests and papers as a reminder that their efforts are for the greater glory of god.
Moreau did the same with his health battle.
“I really just wanted to address it by my own terms,” Moreau said of his disclosure. “I wanted to get the news out so it didn’t come from a leak. It was beneficial to me to get that news out – just get it out of the way, clear up any free agency drama, rumor, mist, fog there could have been.”
Moreau had a type of Hodgkin’s called NLPHL (nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma) that he said occurs in “about 3 percent of all diagnoses.” It’s far less aggressive than typical Hodgkin’s.
As a result, Moreau did not undergo chemotherapy or radiation.
His primary treatment consisted of “a drip infusion” for “six to eight hours one day about a month and a half ago.”
The rest of his medication was applied via “shots through my stomach.”
“My quality of life did not change,” Moreau said. “The struggle I had to face was more mental than anything.
“The real heroes are the kids in the children’s hospitals that are really fighting with real chemotherapy and real radiation. Those are the strong ones.”
Moreau acknowledged that he has “a life sentence” in terms of potential recurring battles with the disease.
“I’ll continue to fight this as long as I need to and as many times as I need to fight this,” he said.
But for now, it’s “full steam ahead.”
“Treatment wise,” Moreau said, “it looks like I’m all wrapped up,” though a follow-up CAT scan is scheduled for next month to see how much “the cancer has destabilized.”
Moreau said that Saints executive vice president of football operations Mickey Loomis called his agent the day after the diagnosis.
Loomis’ message was that “we’re still interested in him” and “we still value him as a player and more as a person.”
Moreau, who said he always “respected” and hoped to emulate “one-club” players that “stuck it out with the guys that took a chance on them,” is starting over with his second NFL team – in addition to his third Louisiana team.
“Loyalty is a major trait for anyone in this business,” Moreau said, adding that “the loyalty shown (by the Saints) for absolutely no performance that I’ve even given anyone in this building spoke volumes.”
Moreau, who received LSU’s last scholarship in 2015, was awarded the team’s coveted jersey No. 18 to wear during his senior season in 2018.
Tigers tradition calls for No. 18 to be worn each season by a player whose “outstanding traits – both on and off the field” – epitomize “what it means to be an LSU football player.”
The Saints have no such tradition, but Moreau, who wore No. 87 while playing with Carr for four seasons with the Raiders, will be wearing No. 82 next season, the number he wore at Jesuit.
He said his own “ignorance” told him that he could battle his illness equally well in whatever city’s team he signed with, but after his “second or third workout” in the Saints facility he realized “how much easier” it was doing so at home.
“Mentally I’m a lot more grateful waking up each day,” Moreau said.
When asked if he had any doubt that he is physically prepared to get through an entire NFL season, Moreau replied, “not an ounce. I’ll be just fine.”
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Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…