Mark Herzlich Is More Than Just a Feel-Good Story for New York Giants

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Mark Herzlich #58 of the New York Giants warms up before their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The New York Giants aren't in the business of giving players roster spots because of their personal story.

Mark Herzlich's story would certainly qualify if they were, but the cancer survivor is more than just a story for Big Blue.

This week, Herzlich is likely going to be a regular contributor for the Giants defense.

With an injury to veteran leader Michael Boley, New York is counting on a number of rookies, Herzlich included, to replace his production on Sunday night versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

The former Boston College star, All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year isn't just satisfied that he beat cancer and the odds of earning a roster spot in the NFL. He wants more for himself.

Herzlich was quoted in the Newark Star Ledger as saying:

It comes hand in hand. 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.

The rookie linebacker has been a regular special teams contributor all season long for the Giants.

Now, in a must-win game against a division rival, they need more from him.

Fellow Boston College alum and linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka told the Ledger to "watch out" for Herzlich adding, "he's going to play well."

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Mark Herzlich #58 of the New York Giants tackles Shane Vereen #29 of the New England Patriots  on September 1, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Giants, who fell to the San Francisco 49ers last week, hold a small lead over the Cowboys in the NFC East.

A win over Philadelphia all but ends the Eagles' dim playoff hopes and boosts the Giants further ahead in the division. They need the rookie to be a part of that.

Herzlich is more well known now for having defeated cancer, but that is not all he is.

Not to himself and not to the Giants.

They're ready to trust him and if his past success in football and life is any indication of how he'll produce then this is only the beginning.