Purdue will be without quarterback Aidan O’Connell as the team prepares for the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan.
O’Connell posted on social media that her brother, Sean, had died. He didn’t return to campus after the team beat Indiana on Saturday.
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«My family and I want to express our gratitude for the love and support we have received in recent days,» he said in his statement. «We are deeply saddened to share the passing of my older brother, Sean. Sean was not only one of Purdue’s biggest football fans, but he was a better son, brother and friend. He would light up any room he walked in and all.» . We met him bear witness to his contagious joy.»
O’Connell was seen crying into a towel on the bench near the end of the game against Indiana. The cause of his brother’s death was not disclosed.
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Purdue coach Jeff Brohm discussed McConnell’s performance Monday.
«He played with his heart for his teammates and gave us a great effort,» he said. «Of course, he has things that he has to deal with this week, but we’ll be there to support him and every time we get him back to work, we expect that.»
It’s unclear if O’Connell will return to the field. Brohm said he believes the sixth-year senior will play Saturday against Michigan in the Big Ten title game.
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«He’s a special person. I feel like anyone who knows him knows that you don’t get guys like that all the time,» Purdue tight end Payne Durham said. «He doesn’t identify as a soccer player. He is a man of faith who wants to do things for other people.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.