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ND Football: Lineman’s father passes; squad mourns for Morton family

Bobby Griffin | Friday, August 25, 2006

Notre Dame offensive guard Bob Morton, an integral part of an Irish offensive line that returns four starters from last season, will not be with the team Saturday through Tuesday when he travels home for his father’s funeral in Texas.

Robert Morton, who played college football at Rutgers, died Tuesday of stomach cancer at 54. Irish head coach Charlie Weis said the offensive lineman decided to wait until after today’s scrimmage to return to his home in McKinney, Texas.

Weis spoke about Bob Morton Sr.’s death for the first time in his post-practice interview Thursday.

“He had told his mom that he could not go home until after we had finished our scrimmage Friday night,” Weis said. “So he’s going to go home Saturday and come back Tuesday because the service is on Monday.”

Robert Morton began experiencing stomach pains one month ago and was initially informed he had acid reflux and indigestion. It was not until his medications failed and he returned to the doctor that he learned it was cancer.

Bob Morton was able to visit his father before his death, one week before the start of training camp. The offensive lineman was unsure of his father’s outlook, but knew the disease was in its late stages after the cancer had spread from the stomach into the lymphatic system and lungs.

“Coach Weis blessed me with the opportunity to fly home and see my family,” Bob Morton said after practice Thursday. “I was able to fly home and spent a lot of quality time with my dad.”

Morton remained positive after Weis introduced him to the media Thursday despite how quickly his father’s illness progressed. He thanked his friends, family, teammates and Weis for their support and God for not letting his father suffer for a long time.

“My faith in Christ continues to give me hope,” Morton said. “Hope that my father is no longer in pain, which I know. Hope that there is a meaning to everything that he went through. And hope that there is meaning in every step I take.

“So that word right there – hope – is the biggest thing I continue to derive from that.”