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Cannon upbeat, hopes to be ready for start of training camp

New England Patriots rookie guard Marcus Cannon, who found out eight days before the NFL draft that he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is scheduled to finish chemotherapy treatment this week and, labor situation permitting, he hopes to be ready for the first day of training camp in August, the *Fort Worth Star-Telegram* reported.

"The first thing my mom and my dad told me to do is pray," Cannon told the Star-Telegram last week, "and here we are today. I'm a fifth-round Patriots draft pick, and half the mass I had is gone. For everybody who doesn't believe, here's your reason to believe. It's a miracle in itself that somebody with a life-threatening disease gets drafted."

Cannon was 15 when he discovered a lump on his lower abdomen, but doctors told him "it was an infection and would go away." But when the lump started to grow, Cannon, then a redshirt sophomore at TCU, had a needle biopsy. Prompted by concerns from at least one NFL team prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, a full biospy was performed.

"It was pretty shocking," Cannon's father, Ebbie Cannon, told the Star-Telegram about the diagnosis. "We had never had cancer in our family. We thought maybe it was a mistake or something."

NFL teams were told by doctors in a memo that his chances of recovery are 90 percent, but Cannon fell to the fifth round in the draft, where he was taken by the Patriots.

After his second round of treatment in May, Cannon said he was humbled by the support he has received, especially from Patriots fans who have contacted him through Facebook and Twitter.

The Star-Telegram reports that Cannon hasn't lost his hair, his weight is about the same, and he lifts weights three days a week at a local gym and runs at TCU with former teammates. He regularly tests his strength by benching 315 pounds.

"All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing," Cannon said. "That's to keep praying and accept my healing."

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