Matt Millen will return to broadcast booth after heart transplant

CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Millen will be back in a broadcast booth when the coming college football season begins, new heart and all.

The former Penn State star who played on four Super Bowl championship teams worked the room before Friday’s Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon and said heart transplant surgery hasn’t done much to disrupt his life or appetite to return to the game.

“I haven’t had any problems. I’m really fortunate from what I’ve been told,” he said. “I’ve had no setbacks or anything. Things are going pretty good.”

Millen was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease in which abnormal protein buildup can cause organ failure. He waited about three months to get the call and received his new heart during a procedure in December.

He said he was told he’d be receiving a “high risk” donor heart. Millen had just one question before going into the operating room.

“I said to the doctor, ‘If I were your son, and I’m sitting here, what would you tell me?'” Millen recalled. “He said, ‘I’d take the heart.’ So I said, ‘Then let’s do it.’ If that’s what you’ve got to do, you do it.”

Millen was a popular NFL color man before serving as president of the Detroit Lions from 2001 to 2008. He and play-by-play man Kevin Kugler will team for an Aug. 31 Big Ten network broadcast to begin the new season.