Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich will be allowed to stay as long, or short, as he'd like at the 2011 NFL Draft, league sources said Monday.
Herzlich, whose struggle against cancer is one of the more gripping emotional sagas of this draft, will attend the event, but he has been granted open-ended status in terms of his participation this weekend.
The 6-foot-4, 244-pound defender, who was seen as a potential top-15 draft pick before he missed the 2009 season while battling a rare form of cancer, knows there is great uncertainty about when he will be drafted. The NFL wanted to welcome and honor him for his courageous fight but remains sensitive to his desire to share this time with friends and family -- not sequestered in a green room for up to three days.
Herzlich will be introduced with all 25 players attending the draft at Radio City Music Hall and will pose for a group photo. Then he will be free to return as he wishes, according to sources, with the league extending an open window. If he wants to return for the start, or any, of the second and third days of the draft, it's up to him.
Herzlich also could opt to return home at any point.