Patriots rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon was voted as the team's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given out annually to one player on all 32 NFL teams.
Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma prior to the NFL draft and started the season on the non-football injury list before being cleared to practice Oct. 25, getting activated to the 53-man roster Nov. 15 and making his NFL debut in Week 11 against the Chiefs.
Due to Sebastian Vollmer's foot and back injuries, Cannon has been the Patriots' primary backup at right tackle, and he has also gotten on the field during their three-tackle sets, which have given him ample playing time.
"Marcus has gone through a lot this year," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "He's certainly had to deal with a lot more than a normal rookie would have to deal with, which is a big transition as it is just coming into this league he dealt with a lot very maturely and unselfishly. He did what he had to do, but at the same time, he was always there for the team and was always doing what he could to help the team and he's helped the team in a lot of ways. I'm proud that he's on our team and what he's accomplished, and he certainly deserves to be recognized for it."
Ed Block was a long-time trainer with the Baltimore Colts and a respected humanitarian who was dedicated to helping children. Belichick's one season in Baltimore (1975) overlapped with Block's tenure.
The award, which was formulated in 1986, is typically given out to players who have overcome significant injuries or personal tragedies. The Patriots' last two recipients, wide receiver Wes Welker (2010) and quarterback Tom Brady (2009), were given the award after overcoming torn ACLs. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi was the 2005 recipient after suffering a stroke.