Veteran NFL official Bill Schuster will cut his 2015 season short to undergo cancer surgery in November.
Schuster, who has officiated NFL games for 16 years and was the umpire in Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment, the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., reported Friday.
Schuster, 56, is scheduled for removal of his esophagus on Nov. 3. He had asked if surgery could be delayed until after the season, but doctors told Schuster a delay could put his life at risk.
"I said, 'OK, shut me down,'" Schuster told the paper.
He said the discovery of a 2.5-centimeter tumor where his esophagus attaches to his stomach came after he complained to his doctor of persistent after-meal hiccups late last year.
Schuster said former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and football analyst Merril Hoge is among those who've been in contact to offer advice and encouragement.