How one MRI saved ATL Falcons Joshua Miles’ life

Miles went for a MRI for his back but was hit with news that changed his life.

Former Morgan State offensive tackle Joshua Miles recently signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons after being on injured reserve with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2022 season. That stint on the IR came after receiving the results of an MRI that drastically changed his life.

In March of 2022, Miles was working out at the Cardinals’ practice facility when he noticed some discomfort in his back. The offensive tackle vowed to keep silent because this was his year to shine after being a three-year backup.

In an article written by Kyle Odegard for, Miles said that the tightness in his back returned intensely after the next day’s workout. It was then Miles knew he had to notify Tom Reed, the Cardinal’s head athletic trainer at the time.

Joshua Miles

The news that came from the MRI wasn’t at all what Miles had expected. The MRI captured a cancerous two-and-a-half-inch mass on his neck. Miles said it suddenly felt like “the Last Supper” after hearing the news that a routine MRI revealed a major off-the-field health concern.

The 27-year was already aware of the mass; he was unaware that it was cancerous. According to doctors it had been growing from more than 10 years. The next step was discovering the best and safest way to eliminate the mass from Miles’s neck. But doctors hit another roadblock. The position of the mass set closely to the front of his ear. One misstep in the removal process could trigger facial paralysis or blurred vision; therefore specialists didn’t want to take the risk.

Joshua Miles’s situation seemed hopeless until Dr. Michael Hinni from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale stepped up and accepted the daunting challenge. Dr. Hinni successfully removed the entire tumor. The biopsy results revealed the tumor was benign; because it lived so long before pre-cancerous cells began to form, therefore Miles truly dodged a bullet. The surgery eliminated any chances of cancer allowing Miles to make a full recovery.

“I just thank God every day, dude. It’s so weird talking about it. It’s so weird thinking about it. I dodged a bullet. I always say I usually have bad luck. Maybe I was saving up all the good luck for this one.” Miles said in the interview.

Joshua Miles
Joshua Miles

After a week and a half on bed rest and a month of post-surgery recovery Miles itching to get back to doing what he loves. He expresses how drastically his life could have changed if he never made to the NFL; providing him with the resources to discovering the cancerous tumor.

 “I’ve been extremely blessed to live my dream. And then having my life saved by living my dream? The pics are gnarly and the scar is not healing the best, but as long as I can function, man, it’s such a blessing,” says Miles. “You start thinking about your own mortality. Weird thoughts go through your mind, paranoid thoughts. But it’s something I gotta do. God blessed me before and I doubt he’d stop now.”

Joshua Miles is a living testimony of how nothing and no one can stop you from walking in your purpose when it’s meant for you. A life-changing setback can sometimes be a set up for a greater story.


How one MRI saved ATL Falcons Joshua Miles’ life
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