Unified WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns has bravely discussed how he first found out he was battling leukemia and how it led to a big change in his career.
In 2018, the wrestling world was shocked and saddened when Roman Reigns announced that he had to relinquish his Universal Championship and take time away due to being diagnosed with leukemia. Thankfully, Reigns returned just four months later, announcing that his cancer was in remission.
However, that wasn’t the first time The Tribal Chief faced the fight of his life due to the disease. While a young football player with the Minnesota Vikings, Reigns was first diagnosed with the illness.
Speaking to Logan Paul on his IMPAULSIVE podcast, Reigns discussed how he first found out that something was wrong:
“We weren’t quite sure… this is where we saw the blood labs that showed the elevated white blood cells, which clearly says your body’s attacking something. It’s fighting off something. So they were like, yeah, it could be anything. Yeah, I mean, venereal disease, infection, to cancer. And then I’m just… all I heard was cancer and like, whoa, it got super heavy. So I had to go home from there.”
“So that was rookie camp. I got up to Minnesota, did rookie camp woke up before practice, we did all the blood labs and everything, all the, you know, standard physicals that you do. Went through practice; it was a non-padded practice, but it’s still, you know, you’re doing some stuff, you know, you’re still competing.”
“Had a fairly good practice, and then we watch film. As soon as I came out of film, the whole training staff was right there. I’m looking like man, hopefully, it’s this guy behind me that they’re getting but no, they were pointing at me, and yeah.”
Roman Reigns explained how the news came as a shock to him as a young football player meant to be in otherwise peak health. Reigns also mentions that he ended up released from the Vikings as a result:
“So I compartmentalize emotion sometimes. So I think it was just so overwhelming that it wasn’t even believable, you know, and even then it was like, this is back in ’07. So this is years ago, and like, you hear about younger people with blood cancers more often now.”
“But back then a 21-year-old, you know, I mean, coming straight out of college, a division one football player, supposed to be kind of peak health, right? Like, you never would expect that. So it put a huge asterisk next to my name when it came to the NFL. So it was just an uphill battle from there, man.”
“Yeah, they sent me home. Once we got like all the proper oncology work back in the bloodwork back. They ended up releasing me just because there was just I mean, there was nothing we could do at that point.”
During the conversation Roman Reigns also discussed a potential dream showdown between himself and The Rock at WrestleMania.