Dallas Colleges: New England Patriots

TCU offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft on Saturday, isn't taking anything for granted these days.

Cannon remembers glancing at some mock drafts just a few weeks ago and seeing his name near the end of the first round or in the second round. But that was before he went to the doctor and had some physicals done at the request of NFL teams.

Cannon had a benign growth in his groin more than four years ago and assumed that issue was behind him. But Cannon said one NFL team requested a biopsy and that's when it was discovered that he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He has already had one chemotherapy treatment and because of his age and overall health, Cannon has a more than 90 percent success rate of beating the cancer.

"I was shocked," Cannon said. "I was pretty shocked."

The news dropped him down draft boards, allowing the Patriots to grab him with the seventh pick in the fifth round. Even though it was several rounds later than Cannon thought he'd be taken even just a week ago, he's happy to be a Patriot. He was at home with his family when word came.

"We were ecstatic and thankful," Cannon said. "We were pretty happy that the day finally came."

As soon as he found out about the cancer, the 6-foot-6, 350-pound senior went about figuring out what he needed to do to beat it. And his faith has helped him deal with it.

"There's no disappointment," Cannon said. "This is the path that God chose for me. I go with the path he chose for me. I don’t worry about what anybody else says."

Once the biopsy was done, Cannon's representatives sent medical reports to all 32 teams. Cannon said he should be finished with the chemotherapy by the end of June, but didn't want to talk about the specific treatments. He is confident he can get through the chemo and get in shape to become a solid NFL player.

"This whole thing will make me stronger," Cannon said. "I know I have to be ready and work hard to face faster and bigger defensive lineman in the NFL. I want to look at film, work on things and get better. I'm ready to do that."

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was asked about Patriots coach Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the New England 28-yard line. The Patriots were six points ahead with just over two minutes left in the game. The Patriots ended up losing by one to Indianapolis.

"I didn't see it," Leach said. "I don't know the situation. It probably was a good call. The people closest to the situation made the call. ... If Belichick and his staff cared what I thought or anybody else thought about it, we would have been asked earlier in the week or asked to their meetings. Our opinion would have been considered and evaluated.

"They didn't care what we thought. They didn't ask us as they shouldn't care. I would doubt that they regret going for it. They may have wished they called a different play or executed differently. I doubt they regret doing it."



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