FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon said he is in full remission after several months of chemotherapy to cure him from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and he'll take the next steps as they come.
Cannon, who is on the non-football injury list, started practicing this week. The Patriots have until Nov. 15 to either promote him to the active roster or place him on injured reserve.
He met with the New England media for the first time Friday and said it was "awesome" to finally get a chance to join his teammates on the field.
"Just happy to be here and play football," Cannon said.
Doctors found a benign tumor in his pelvic area in 2006. Because of that, one team requested he have a biopsy after the draft combine earlier in 2011. He obliged because he wanted his health to be an open book, but the biopsy revealed that he had cancer.
The news hit the week before the NFL draft in April, and the one-time second-round prospect fell to the Patriots in the fifth round. He was a tackle at TCU, but he could also play guard in the NFL. To this point, there's no clear indication where the Patriots will use him.
Either way, they'll use this window to get him three weeks of practice. There's no guarantee that he'll progress quickly enough to help the team in 2011, though the possibility is there. This opportunity will at least give him a jumpstart on 2012.
"Just working wherever coach tells me to work, just getting out there and doing whatever he tells me to," Cannon said. "There's not a defined position right now, just doing what I'm told to do, helping wherever I can."
Cannon said he was able to get through chemotherapy without many side effects, so he did his best to stay in shape by running and working out in the weight room, and he said he's feeling "pretty good" these days. He said he's 6-foot-6 and 348 pounds, though it's not clear what his preferred playing weight should be. He noted that he weighed as much as 370 pounds in college.
Cannon admitted that he didn't think about the possibility of never playing football again, but he noted that if that turned out to be his path, he had a college degree and would make due.
Through the process, he had plenty of help from his closest supporters among his friends and family, as well as tweets and letters from fans. He was also contacted by former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who defeated cancer during his collegiate career.
There was also plenty of support from his newest teammates, and that's something that will stay with him for a long time.
"Everybody in here is awesome," Cannon said from his locker at Gillette Stadium. "I was blessed not to have such a bad chemo outcome, so it really wasn't a big deal because they didn't see it in my face. Everybody in here has been real supportive. The offensive line has been helping me get into. I love this team. Everybody is great. Everybody was real supportive."