Herzlich not giving up on NFL dream

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
11:53
PM ET


Appearing on ESPN's "Jim Rome Is Burning" on Wednesday, former BC All-America linebacker and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich provided some chilling details of his original diagnosis, his mindset during his recovery and his eagerness to prove he can play in the NFL.

Herzlich related how he felt the moment he was told by his doctor that he had Ewing's sarcoma, recalling that an MRI showed his "entire left leg was white, filled with a tumor in my thigh."

"When the doctor basically said you have cancer, I felt like my whole world was falling out from underneath me," he said. "I got sweaty, my hands got clammy.

"It's tough to say you're going to beat it and play again. It's tough to do that when a doctor says, 'I'm sorry to tell you this, but never going to run again, you'll never play tennis, you'll never play golf, you'll never play football again. And by the way, there's about a 35 percent chance you may not make it six months.' "

Herzlich said the support of his family, friends and teammates got him through the toughest times, and that he never accepted failure, which he classified as anything less than playing football again.

"No matter what anyone told me, I believed that I could do it," Herzlich said. "There was no bad news in my mind."

Herzlich acknowledged that not being taken in the NFL draft was frustrating and somewhat puzzling, and that he's eager to prove he belongs in the NFL.

Asked why he thinks he wasn't drafted, Herzlich said, "I have no idea. I've been speculating a lot myself. Teams could have been scared of the medical factor, maybe they didn't see what they wanted to see on film from my senior season.

"It was a frustrating day, kind of a low point. But at the same time I have a big opportunity now to sign as an undrafted free agent, get on a team and really prove myself."

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