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Pats' Cannon, Giants' Herzlich share bond as cancer survivors

INDIANAPOLIS -- When New England Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon met New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich at the NFL's rookie symposium last year, they had a lot to talk about.

There's a bond that goes much deeper than their rookie status.

Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma less than a week before the NFL draft. The fifth-round pick ended up getting eight chemotherapy treatments stretched over 24 draining weeks that cured the disease.

Herzlich became one of his resources and supporters.

"I called him a couple of times and asked him questions," Cannon said. "There's a lot of (cancer) stories out there. His is one I can most relate to. We just talked a lot."

Herzlich overcame a rare form of bone cancer in his left leg while at Boston College and returned to football. Although their cases were much different, they could relate to the challenges of going through chemotherapy and trying to hold on to hope.

"It wasn't fun," Cannon said. "Sitting there for six hours a day on the bed wasn't fun at all. I just had to have faith."

Cannon opened the season on a medical list. He had his last chemotherapy treatment in September and began feeling better a few weeks later. He practiced with the Patriots for the first time in late October. He has played in the last nine games.

Like Herzlich, he appreciates everything a little more.

"There's a lot of things that change," Cannon said. "You understand life is precious."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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