The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Thursday they have promoted Luke Butkus from assistant offensive line coach to interim offensive line coach while George Yarno continues to undergo treatment for cancer.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said the 56-year-old Yarno ”will not be with us for some time. We’re all rooting for him.” Yarno was diagnosed with cancer in late May and did not take a leave of absence at first but wound up missing minicamp in June after going home to Spokane, Washington, to begin his treatment.
Details of the cancer have not been disclosed out of respect for Yarno’s privacy.
Butkus spent two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, where he was on the same coaching staff with Bradley, before being hired by the Jaguars in January 2013. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 2005 after being a three-year starting center at Illinois and playing two years in NFL Europe. He is the nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.
Yarno was an assistant line coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008 when Bradley was also on their staff under Jon Gruden. He played for the Bucs for a total of seven seasons in the ’70s and ’80s, with a stint with the Denver Gold of the United States Football League sandwiched in between.
The Jaguars also said they have hired Matt Applebaum as an offensive assistant to work with Butkus in what was Butkus’ former capacity. Applebaum was an offensive quality control coach at the University of Miami when current Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch served in the same role for the Hurricanes (2011-12).