Mike McCarthy postponed his season-ending press conference on Wednesday and left the team after the sudden death of his brother, who was playing racquetball in Pittsburgh when he suddenly collapsed.
McCarthy was set to address the media regarding the Green Bay Packers’ heartbreaking NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks. But he had to cancel at the last minute and flew to Pittsburgh, his hometown, where his brother Joe McCarthy had died.
Even before his brother’s death, Mike McCarthy was having a very difficulty week. The Packers surrendered a 12-point lead late in the NFC Championship Game, with McCarthy’s conservative play calling coming into question. Twice in the first half, he chose to kick a field goal rather than try to convert a fourth-and-short situation, building a 16-0 halftime lead that could have been much more.
But the game likely means little now, and sources close to Mike McCarthy say he is taking his brother’s death very hard. The two were four years apart, and grew up playing sports together and working in their father’s bar in Pittsburgh.
Joe and Mike McCarthy remained close as they grew older. In 2007, Joe told TMJ4 how proud he was of his brother.
“To be the coach of the Green Bay Packers – there’s very few opportunities that come along in a lifetime like that,” Joe said. “One of the prize franchises – if not the prize franchise – in the NFL. For Mike, to essentially be captain of the ship for the football team, that simply speaks for itself. He’s an amazing man.”
Now fans and the Packers organization are rallying around the McCarthy family. Many fans and players have sent messages of condolences to the family, and the Packers President and CEO, Mark Murphy, also issued the following statement.
“The Packers family was very saddened today to learn of the passing of Joseph McCarthy III, the younger brother of Mike McCarthy. Our sincere condolences are with Joe and Ellen, Mike and Jessica, and the entire McCarthy family.
“The McCarthy family appreciates the overwhelming support they have received, as well as the respect for their privacy, during this difficult time.”
The team said Mike McCarthy will return to the team and resume his season-ending press conference at a later date.
[Image via ESPN]