Officiating requires several attributes: an ability to be impartial, fair, knowledgeable and sensible. It also requires a thick skin, putting up with rough conditions and the difficult sacrifice of being away from home, family and friends during evenings, weekends and—in Major League Baseball—full weeks or months at a time.
Not all people can be officials, but all officials must be people.
The NFL recently announced referee Tony Corrente—who recently worked the New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions wild-card playoff game—will conclude his season early instead of continuing further into the playoffs.
Corrente is taking a leave of absence to continue his fight against cancer.
After a Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens mini-fight in Week 1, Corrente first became aware of an unusual feeling in his mouth.
After doctors confirmed it was throat cancer at the base of his tongue, Corrente was placed on chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all while continuing his NFL officiating responsibilities, save for a three-game absence during the most intense portions of his treatment.
As the NFL season moves towards fewer and fewer games, Corrente is taking his leave to focus on targeting his illness.
Corrente joined the NFL in 1995 as a back judge, becoming a referee in 1998. He has appeared at 13 postseason games, including three AFC and NFC Championships and as an alternate in Super Bowl XL. He worked Super Bowl XLI as its referee.
Just as Dan Hanzus of NFL.com wrote, "We send Corrente our best wishes for a complete recovery."
This story also featured on Close Call Sports.