- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich talked of inspiration and hope during his 15-minute session with media members Sunday morning at the NFL Combine, including his link with former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
“Tedy reached out to me first," Herzlich said when asked about how he first became close with Bruschi. "I remember the date, September 29, because that was also the date I was told I didn’t have cancer anymore. One thing he told me that night when I was back at my dorm at Boston College was ‘Mark, you’re a survivor now. Be proud to be a survivor.’ They are words that have stayed with me throughout the whole process."
When Herzlich listened to what Bruschi said that day, he took it as a message to get his story out, help raise money to fight cancer, and be helpful to other people.
"[Tedy] was that way to me," he said. "He’s a great guy – an inspiration and a motivator.”
Herzlich, who measured in at 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds here at the Combine, went through medical tests with all other linebacker prospects Saturday. He said the process was nothing out of the norm for him since he's been so familiar with doctors' check-ups.
His media interview was the next part of his Combine experience, and next comes the workouts.
Media members from around the country seemed captivated by Herzlich's story. One reporter asked him if returning to the field after battling cancer gives him strength in the fourth quarter of games.
“Yeah, it does," he said. "It’s not a conscious motivation. I don’t sit there in the fourth quarter and think ‘Oh, I beat cancer, so I can do this.’ You get trained throughout your life, whether you go through something like this or something else in your life, to push through tough times. Throughout the year that I worked through chemotherapy and radiation, those were tough times. Those were as tough as they’re going to get.
"So in the fourth quarter, as tough as it is, at the end of the day you’re playing football. I’m doing something I love, so take every minute and don’t waste it.”
(For a complete story on Herzlich, CLICK HERE)