SANTA CLARA — Johnny Holland had cancer during the 49ers’ Super Bowl race two years ago, but kept his situation private. Sadly, that cancer has returned and he’s discussing it publicly as he leaves for an upcoming treatment.
“It’s been a couple of emotional years for me and my family. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September 2019 and went through several rounds of remission and relapse,” Holland said in a statement released through the team.
“Unfortunately the cancer has returned and from September 6 I will be taking some time off the team to be treated.
“By sharing the details of my diagnosis, I want to be an advocate and beacon of hope for those battling cancer to remind them that we’re all in this together.”
The 49ers wore red T-shirts in honor of the Netherlands’ upcoming battle during Friday’s practice, a similar shirt they wore during the 2019 season. The backs of the shirts bear the initials “IGYB,” which stands for. I Got Your Back, and the initials “JH” are above it.
“I have as much love for Johnny as any other person I’ve ever been with. He’s such a good person,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.
‘…Just to give you an example of who he is, he always tells me – and he means it – how lucky he is going through this and not someone else or a kid who can’t handle it the same way. His faith is so strong, he believes that he can be an inspiration to people who deal with this kind of thing, and he is (an inspiration) to us every day.”
Holland, 56, has been a mentor to freshman 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans dating back to the linebacker’s career with the Houston Texans. Holland has been an instrumental assistant to not only the 49ers since 2017, but his NFL coaching career dates back to 1995.
Holland played for the Green Bay Packers for seven seasons as a 1987 second round draft pick from Texas A&M. In 1992, he led them in tackles and to their first playoff win in 11 years. He is in the hall of fame for the Packers, Texas A&M and the Cotton Bowl.
“I am grateful to the York family, John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and the entire 49ers organization for their constant support and encouragement,” added Holland, who has two children with his wife, Faith: son, Jordan and daughter. joli.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the physicians and healthcare professionals at Stanford Medical Center and UCSF Medical Center, who continue to assist me throughout my treatment plan. And of course my wife, Faith, and our children, who have been a blessing with their endless love.
“Thank you in advance for respecting my privacy as we continue with my treatments. We remain steadfast in prayer and I look forward to returning to the team and coaching as soon as possible.”
Earlier this month, Ryans announced how important the Netherlands was in his development during his playing career.
“Johnny was my coach coming to the NFL, my rookie year. And that’s exactly what struck John, he never felt like just a coach, did he?” said Ryan.
“And that’s something I try to convey to boys as a coach. You want to build that relationship with guys. Johnny coached me for five years. So whether it was Thanksgiving dinners, being there, it always felt like family with Johnny and never like a coach-player relationship.”
Holland coached with the Texans from 2006-10. Other NFL stops he has made: Packers (1995-99), the Seattle Seahawks (2000-02), the Detroit Lions (2003-05), the Raiders (2012), and the Cleveland Browns (2016). He coached in the United Football League in 2011 (Virginia Destroyers) and in the Canadian Football League in 2013-15 (Saskatchewan Roughriders, BC Lions).