|Herzlich, a cancer survivor, will make the first start of his NFL career against the Eagles. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
By Mark Herzlich's junior season at Boston College, he was an All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and the NFL appeared to be the next step in a successful football career. Instead of entering the draft, Herzlich returned to school for his senior year, but didn't play a down after he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.
He returned the following season but was only a shadow of his former football-playing self, and understandably so. Herzlich wasn't selected in the NFL Draft and that seemed to be the end of his professional career. But the Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent and now, 11 weeks into his rookie season, Herzlich, a cancer survivor, will make his first NFL start when New York faces Philadelphia Sunday night.
“It comes hand in hand,” Herzlich said, via the Newark Star Ledger's Jorge Castillo. “The better I play, the better my story gets. Obviously, my goal right now, and in general, is just to play better. I’ve beaten cancer, it’s in my past, but at the same time I continue to be proud of what I’ve accomplished.”
Herzlich, who appeared in nine games this season on special teams, gets a chance to play linebacker with Michael Boley doubtful due to a hamstring injury. But this isn't like Little League, where Herzlich's opportunity is less about his talents and more about letting everybody get on the field. He's earned it.
“Watch out for Herzlich now,” fellow linebacker and Boston College alum Mathias Kiwanuka said. “He’s going to play well.”
Adds Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell: “Mark is a go-getter. He is one of those 100 percent guys that if he sees something, he is going to go smack it and ask questions later.”
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