Patriots draftee Cannon coping with cancer

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
1:41
PM ET
If not for the controversial Ryan Mallett selection, Marcus Cannon would have been the most fascinating New England Patriots draft choice.

Cannon, a Texas Christian tackle, was diagnosed with cancer last month. He began chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on April 28, the day the draft began.

Boston Globe reporter Shalise Manza Young went to Fort Worth to speak with Cannon and those who know him about how he has dealt with the shocking development.

"I was trying to be strong and then I just started crying while I was talking to my dad," Cannon told Manza Young. "My mom said, 'You need to start praying,' and then my dad told me to start praying. And that's one thing that I really didn't hear out of him growing up, was talking about God. He told me to start praying, and that got me to start praying."

Almost certainly because of his diagnosis, Cannon slid to the fifth round, where the Patriots grabbed him with the 138th overall choice.

Scouts Inc. graded him out as a second-round pick and remarked about his versatility to play either guard or tackle.

Cannon joins a New England offensive line that has question marks. Right guard Stephen Neal retired. All-Pro left guard Logan Mankins is unhappy. Pro Bowl left tackle Matt Light is a free agent. The Patriots also drafted Colorado tackle Nate Solder in the first round.

"I'm doing exactly what I want to do," Cannon said. "I know where I was supposed to go in the draft, and for me to look back on that is dwelling on the past. And what's in the past is already gone; it's only the future. I'm keeping my eyes forward.

"You know, this happened for a reason. We'll see in the days to come why it happened, and then we'll look back and say 'Good thing I didn't care about when I went,' but I'm not going to look back."

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