Cancer is no joke. Anybody with common sense knows that. However, a lot of patients with the disease also make one thing clear. They never, ever want people to stop smiling and laughing around them because of it. So don’t be afraid to make jokes about it whenever possible. It’s not easy of course. Yet Chicago Bears tight ends coach Clancy Barone found a way.

Few people have a more harrowing recent history off the field than him. Last season marked the first time the 56-year old wasn’t on an NFL sideline in 32 years. There was a good reason for that. His 82-year old mother was battling brain cancer. In an effort to save her life, doctors chose to do surgery. Ironically an operation that took place right before the Bears knocked the Vikings out of the playoff hunt in 2018.

Thankfully according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the story has a happy ending.

Clancy Barone’s mom had six-hour brain surgery the night before the Bears played his Vikings in the 2018 season finale. He cared for the 83-year-old throughout 2019, the first time since he entered the NFL in 2004 that he didn’t have a full-time coaching job.

He went to California and helped her recover. About three months after surgery, she had a request.

She wanted me to take her to the local casino,” Barone, who was hired in January as the Bears’ tight ends coach, said last week. “I knew then that Mom was better.

“She’s able to get around without a walker for the first time in maybe 10 years. She’s doing absolutely fantastic. She wants to start driving again. I’ll probably pump the brakes on that one.”

Barone is thrilled to join the Chicago Bears with a clear head

Have to hand it to the lady. She beats cancer and three months later is ready to throw some money away at the casino. She’s probably quite the character. For his part, Barone is relieved. It allows him to return to football with clear thoughts. He can focus on the task at hand, which won’t be an easy one. That is overhauling a tight end position that was worst in the NFL last season.

His track record offers some hope. He coached the likes of Alge Crumpler, Antonio Gates, and Kyle Rudolph. He’ll have some interesting pieces to work with in Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet. The Bears seem to trust he can get things pointed in the right direction. That would be a huge bonus to an offense desperately trying to pull itself out of the mud after a rough 2019.