Northwestern QB Hunter Johnson ready to play after mom's cancer treatment

ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Northwestern quarterback Hunter Johnson says he is ready to play again after supporting his mother during breast cancer treatment.

Johnson told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that his mother, Shana, is recovering from chemotherapy and a mastectomy. He said coach Pat Fitzgerald told him to take a break from football to focus on his family.

"We cleared the air a little bit," Johnson said. "Since that conversation, things have been great."

Johnson, who also had a minor knee injury, has not played since Sept. 28 against Wisconsin, though he has been practicing. The sophomore started the first four games of the season and is 43-for-89 for 367 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

Senior Aidan Smith (453 yards, 1 TD, 6 INTs) has handled the bulk of the quarterback play with Johnson and TJ Green (foot injury) out.

Johnson, an Indianapolis native, hopes he can make his return when the Wildcats (1-6, 0-5 Big Ten) play at Indiana (6-2, 3-2) on Saturday.

"It would be great," he said. "We've got to get back on track."

Johnson also said things are looking good for his mother's recovery.

"She has a couple more procedures, but really the bulk of it is out of the way. The chemo is done," he told the Tribune. "My mom has been unbelievable through all this, so strong. She hasn't flinched a bit. It has been tough for her, but she has kept a great face. It has been inspiring to me to know she will get through it."