Found August 05, 2012 on 60 Max Power O:

For the majority of cancer patients, beating the disease means simply just staying alive. However, for New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, defeating cancer meant having a successful NFL career, despite being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma after his junior season at Boston College.

Fortunately, after an intense five-month battle, Herzlich's cancer was in remission, and he was poised to begin preparing for his final year of collegiate football. Before his cancer diagnosis, Herzlich was projected as a first-round draft pick. However, after cancer, he was bypassed in all seven rounds of the draft. For some people, that would mean the end of their career. But Mark used it as motivation to once again prove everyone wrong. After the 2011 NFL Draft, he reacted with the same defiant, heroic attitude that helped him overcome cancer.

“It was a disappointing and tiring day. It got to the point when I just felt like things were turning against me and tried to just keep my head up. Apparently people are saying I can’t play football. Well, I have heard that before.” Herzlich said.

Although cancer derailed Herzlich's hopes of being drafted by an NFL team, the New York Giants signed him as a free agent almost immediately after the NFL Lockout ended last summer. He played well enough in training camp to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, and even started in two games before getting hurt against the New Orleans Saints.

However, in 2012, Herzlich wants to do more than just earn a roster spot. After having to watch on the sidelines as the team went on an improbable Super Bowl run, he wants to return to the field in a starting capacity. In order to accomplish this, he not only will have to stay healthy, but the second-year player will have to beat out veteran Chase Blackburn for the middle linebacker position.

After Herzlich went down with an ankle injury in 2011, the team reached out to Chase Blackburn, who had been out of football ever since being cut by the Giants the previous offseason. Although many had low expectations for seventh-year veteran out of Akron, he did a more than serviceable job at middle linebacker, and even made the key interception that propelled the Giants to victory in the Super Bowl.

As camp continues to progress, Herzlich and Blackburn are engaging in a respectful, yet competitive battle for the starting middle linebacker spot.

While many hope Herzlich will be able to win the battle, he still has a lot to prove if he wants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to give him increased opportunities in 2012. Herzlich did flash some potential last season; however, he did make some rookie mistakes as well. Furthermore, it is impossible to say how high Herzlich's upside will be. Nobody has any idea how the radiation treatments he received could effect his development as an athlete.

Despite all the uncertainty, head coach Tom Coughlin says Herzlich is looking good in camp so far.

"We really felt that with a year under his belt, and a chance to be in the offseason program, that this would be an opportunity for him to really come in and know what he’s doing, and be the player that we all think he can be. So far, he hasn’t disappointed.” Coughlin said.

Mark Herzlich is one of the most feel-good stories not only on the Giants, but in the entire NFL. After surviving a deadly disease and going undrafted, he is on the verge of securing an NFL roster spot for the second year in a row. While he is going to have to fight for playing time just like everyone else, that fact of the matter is that he's already won. He's proven that if you want something bad enough, and your willing to put the work in to get it, then you can be successful in life no matter what obstacles come before you. In an offseason that has been filled with arrests, Mark Herzlich remains a positive role model for all who watch him.

Also…

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

New York Giants: David Wilson Will Be Starting Soon

The Giants' rookie running back, David Wilson, has been opening eyes and breaking defenders in his first NFL training camp. The Virginia Tech product has coach Coughlin in awe of their new 1st round draft pick saying he "looks very fast, looks very quick".   Though many are saying his abilities are very similar to the Giants' #1 running back Ahmad Bradshaw, I...

2012 New York Giants: Winning The Super Bowl Again

Today I will be discussing what the Giants have to do this season to defend their crown. The Giants have targets painted on their back after winning there second championship in five years.    Stay Healthy: The Giants last year were plagued by injuries. This year it’s already starting. The Giants have lost starting CB Terrell Thomas with a 3rd ACL tear. For the Giants to repeat...

New York Giants’ Antrel Rolle Ready to Play Nickel Corner If Necessary

It is debatable how much New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas would have been able to contribute, even if healthy this season. Although his contract suggests that General Manager Jerry Reese brought him back to start, there is a long list of players who have suffered major knee injuries and returned to the field as shells of their former selves. Regardless, his status for this...

New York Giants Running Back Competition is Ahmad Bradshaw’s to Lose

New York Giants Running Back Competition is Ahmad Bradshaw’s to lose, according to Bradshaw. He spoke of his position as a leader of this team and the possibility of a younger running back stealing the job from him. Bradshaw, 26 is going into his 6th NFL season, and he understands what it takes to maintain at the level that he needs to keep the starting job. After all Bradshaw...

Former Giants WR Thomas retires

Former New York Giants wide receiver Devin Thomas announced his retirement on Sunday. Thomas, 25, is perhaps best known for recovering two fumbles in the Giants' NFC championship game win over the San Francisco 49ers in January. Thomas was a second round pick of the Washington Redskins in 2008. He was in Chicago Bears camp this season before abruptly calling it a career....

Terrell Thomas to avoid surgery, will rehab at camp

AP Photo It looks like both the New York Giants and cornerback Terrell Thomas will avoid a major setback now that they know he won’t need surgery on his injured knee. During Monday’s press conference, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said that cornerback Terrell Thomas will come back to training camp and rehab his knee.  It looks like there’s no tear in his ACL, which is great...

2012 Running Back Rankings

The WMFL team brings you their running back rankings and also discusses the discrepancy in some of their rankings. Players of contention: Ahmad Bradshaw: Rizzla has lower than Zach (16 to 20) Rizzla (20): I have Ahmad Bradshaw ranked at 20 as I still believe he has RB2 upside, but I have him ranked lower than some others as he now has to deal with the more talented David Wilson nipping...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.