Marcus Cannon on his comeback: ‘If I listen to coach [Bill Belichick], I’ll be all right’
|10.28.11 at 5:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — On Friday morning, as he faced the group of reporters stacked three-deep around his locker, Marcus Cannon sounded genuinely grateful to be back on a football field.
Just six months ago, he found out through pre-NFL Draft medical checks that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He began chemotherapy immediately for the cancer.
Several weeks ago, he got the good news that it worked and the lymphoma was in remission.
In between, the massive offensive lineman was one of two fifth-round picks by the Patriots out of TCU, where he protected the blind side of Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. This week, after spending time conditioning while on the PUP list, he was cleared for full-scale practice, including full pads.
“It was awesome, finally getting to play with the team,’ said Cannon, who was limited to off-the-field work with his new teammates. ‘I’ve been interacting with the guys. It was nice to actually get on and move around a little bit, and have fun a little bit.’
‘Everybody in here is awesome. I was blessed not to have such a bad chemo outcome. It really wasn’t a big deal because they didn’t see it on my face. Everyone in here has been real supportive. The offensive line has been helping me get into it. I love this team. Everyone’s great. Everybody was real supportive.’
So, when the 348-pound guard – who played left and right tackle at 370 pounds at TCU – talks about being “grateful’ and “blessed,” you can clearly get a sense of where he’s coming from.
‘You know, I was really blessed,” Cannon said. “Not much was really tough. Probably the toughest thing was having to leave the team and get on a plane every three weeks,’ he said. ‘That was probably the toughest thing, but I’m back now. And I’m happy to be here.’
Cannon spent the last several months going from workouts in Foxboro to his home in Fort Worth, Texas to receive chemo. He said Friday morning that he was lucky enough to avoid most of the side effects that the typical chemo patients go through. While he said he is strong, the only noticeable impact was the 22 pounds he lost off his frame.
‘It’s all right,’ he said. ‘I’m doing good. I’m working with the strength and conditioning coaches and everything’s going fine. I’m on track.’
Cannon added that he’s not worried about where he lines up on the offensive line, or when, or even if, he’ll be able to contribute in a game this season.
‘It’s a non-defined position,’ the 23-year-old Cannon added. ‘I’m doing what I’m told to do. Helping wherever I can. Of course, I haven’t played football 6 to 8 months,’ Cannon said. ‘But, if I just keep working and listening to coach, I’ll be all right.’