Mark Herzlich's debut as a full-time NFL player was bittersweet.
The middle linebacker, a cancer survivor, started the New York Giants' game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, his first action from scrimmage this season. With his parents watching from a private box at MetLife Stadium, Herzlich replaced Michael Boley, out with a hamstring injury.
Herzlich, whose previous work in games came on special teams, had four tackles in a 17-10 loss.
At the outset, Herzlich felt nothing but thrills.
''When the national anthem was playing, and I was out and knew I was going on the field, I closed my eyes and thought, `This was happening,''' he said. ''So as long as I am playing football, I will give my 100 percent every game. That's where I have to give my 100 percent, doing the right thing every play.''
Herzlich, who was not drafted out of Boston College and made the Giants as a free agent, said Friday: ''This is what I've been waiting all my life for, just a chance.''