FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Mark Herzlich #58 of the New York Giants keeps eyes on the offense during a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Undrafted free agents usually don't get much attention. They serve as bodies during training camp, hoping to get the chance to make the 53-man roster. However, not many free agents have the story of Mark Herzlich, a linebacker from Boston College who notched a sack in last night's pre-season win over the Patriots. Herzlich is a cancer survivor who now is waiting on pins and needles to see if he made the team.
He has impressed throughout the pre-season, and Clint Sintim's season-ending injury opens up the roster some at linebacker, but Herzlich knows that his roster spot isn't a given.
“No, nothing is guaranteed,” Herzlich said. “It’s like recess in elementary school. We got to act well to get recess. Your teacher always says it’s a privilege. Playing in the NFL is a privilege. Nothing is guaranteed. It might not be there tomorrow. It might be there tomorrow.”
It's a lesson that Herzlich knows too well. He was a promising star for Boston College when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He missed the 2009 season and had to have a titanium rod inserted in his leg. Doctors told him that he would never play football again, giving him a 70 percent chance at living.
Two years later, Herzlich is on the cusp of not just playing football, but playing it at the highest level for the New York Football Giants. Herzlich wants to make the team because he believes he can help the Giants win
That kind of humility after beating cancer? It deserves all the attention in the world.