Head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday the Patriots will add rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon to the active roster by the 4 p.m. deadline.
Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma prior to the NFL draft in the spring. Once considered a second-round prospect, Cannon fell to the Patriots in the fifth round.
He started the season on the non-football injury list, which forced him to sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season. Cannon was cleared to practice Oct. 25, and the Patriots had until Tuesday to decide to either put him on the active roster or place him on injured reserve.
With just three weeks of practice, it's tough to forecast how ready Cannon would be in a potential game situation. The vast majority of his collegiate experience came at tackle, but Belichick wouldn't rule out the possibility of Cannon playing guard.
"I think he's working hard," Belichick said Friday. "He hasn't had a chance to play until we activated him, but he's gotten better consistently. It's great to have him out there. We'll see how it goes."
Belichick expounded on Cannon's positional versatility.
"He's played a lot more at tackle than he has any place else on the line," Belichick said. "He played there in college, and he's played both sides. He hasn't played a lot inside. I personally don't see any reason why he couldn't play inside. I think he's athletic enough. He's certainly big enough. He has enough power and enough quickness, so ultimately, what is his best position — left tackle, right tackle, left guard, right guard? I'm not sure. In the three weeks, or whatever this is, third week of practice, he's taken a lot of snaps, most of them have been with the scout team, but he's worked in a couple of different positions. I don't see any limitations, but that being said, he hasn't done it. He hasn't done a lot of it, especially at guard. He's a lot more comfortable at tackle. He has a lot more experience at tackle. That's not saying he couldn't play another position, but it would only be based on limited snaps at this point."