New England Patriots: Marcus Cannon Hopes To Be Ready by Training Camp

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJuly 3, 2011

Feel-good stories always come out of the NFL draft, from rags-to-riches stories to accomplishing childhood dreams. Perhaps no story is as moving as Marcus Cannon's quick recovery from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

According to Charean Williams of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, Cannon's treatment will end this week, just 10 weeks after initially learning he had the disease.

Williams says of Cannon, "...his smile is back; he is working out and hopes to be at the New England Patriots' training camp for the first day of practice in August, assuming the NFL lockout ends."

This is great news for Patriots fans who might have been nervous by the unsettled situation on the offensive line. There is the potential worst-case scenario that three of last year's starters could be gone.

Steve Neal has already retired. All-Pro left tackle Matt Light's contract has expired, and he is set to become a free agent when the lockout ends and a new CBA is struck. As for that new deal, who knows if it will include a franchise tag. If it doesn't, Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins could also become a free agent.

Fans should be thankful and proud that Cannon was able to make it this far, but there's still a long road ahead of him to playing in the NFL, much less earning a starting job on the Patriots offensive line. That road goes through training camp.

In that respect, Cannon is doing everything necessary to get ready, wrote Williams.

Cannon said he has no doubts he will play in the NFL for many years, though it remains to be seen whether he will spend this season on injured reserve.

Cannon has had nausea only once. The day after his first treatment, he didn't feel well and cut short his fishing trip with [TCU teammate and roommate Colin] Jones. He hasn't lost his hair, and he has maintained his weight despite losing his appetite. (He said he dropped to 338 after his first chemo treatment before figuring out he had to eat despite not being hungry. He now weighs 348.)

Cannon lifts three days a week at a local gym and runs at TCU with former teammates. He regularly tests his strength by benching 315 pounds.

"If I can do it eight or nine times, I'm good," Cannon said.

The same day he had his third chemo treatment, Cannon swam and played basketball. He said he couldn't be better.

Most people wouldn't even want to get out of bed after a chemo treatment. Marcus Cannon, though, clearly isn't most people.

His quick recovery is incredible, a long NFL career appears inevitable, and there is plenty of time for Cannon to fulfill that goal. He may not earn a starting job right away; he may even have a redshirt rookie year. Neither case, though, should be considered a step in the wrong direction.

Either outcome would be but a baby step backward after a series of giant leaps forward.

Erik Frenz is the co-host of the PatsPropaganda and Frenz podcast. Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikFrenz.