Los Angeles Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane was back with the team for Wednesday’s practice after missing two weeks to be with his infant daughter, who was born last month with a heart condition.
Mebane had been with his wife, Amena, and their two older children, Mahailey and Makai, in Omaha, Neb. while their newborn daughter, Makenna, has been receiving medical treatment. Makenna was born prematurely on Nov. 12 with a heart condition that will require surgery to compensate for a missing valve.
Mebane told reporters his daughter was born more than a month early and developed a stomach infection, which she is now recovering from. The surgery was pushed back a few months by the infection as Makenna continues to recover.
The parents learned of the heart condition in July and had been planning for the surgery, finding a hospital they preferred in Omaha. Amena and the children have been living in Omaha throughout the season, and Mebane has flown from Los Angeles to Omaha early each week to see them before flying back on Tuesday nights.
“It’s been a long and hard, pretty tough year for me,” Mebane said. “But I’ve been praying way more, keeping my faith and my older two kids.”
The 33-year-old is one of two defensive captains in his third year with the Chargers and 12th in the NFL. He has 32 tackles (three for loss), one forced fumble, one sack and three QB hits in 10 games this season, missing wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers the past two weeks.
“He’s back in practice and doing good,” coach Anthony Lynn said of Mebane. “He’s back with the team, and it’s good to see Brandon.
“He’s one of our leaders. He’s a captain for a reason. On our team, these guys voted him that, and they’ve missed him. His leadership on the field is important, not just his ability. He’s a good man.”
The Chargers (9-3) host the Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) on Sunday.
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