From the Star-Telegram.com website:
Marcus Cannon never was scared of the boogeyman growing up. Or much else for that matter.
He admits he doesn't like spiders, but Cannon easily can squish them under his size-15 shoes.
The former TCU offensive lineman had never faced fear until April 20, when doctors told him he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
He drove, and he cried. He cried, and he drove.
And then he prayed.
"The first thing my mom and my dad told me to do is pray," Cannon said last week, "and here we are today. I'm a fifth-round Patriots draft pick, and half the mass I had is gone. For everybody who doesn't believe, here's your reason to believe. It's a miracle in itself that somebody with a life-threatening disease gets drafted."
Cannon's chemo treatments will be finished this week; his smile is back; he is working out and hopes to be at the New England Patriots' training camp for the first day of practice in August, assuming the NFL lockout ends.
"I have a will," Cannon, 23, said.
Good at everything
Cannon always has been successful at whatever he has attempted. He can dance despite being 6-foot-5, 350 pounds. He can play the piano, though he has never had formal lessons. There is a YouTube video of Cannon, a former lifeguard, doing a double front flip off a party barge. He is a skilled fisherman. He earned All-Mountain West honors in track in 2009 after finishing second in the shot put at the conference meet. He has a communication studies degree from TCU.
"He's very good at everything," said 49ers rookie safety Colin Jones, his former TCU teammate and roommate. "He's really lucky, too."
Indeed, Cannon calls his cancer diagnosis "a blessing."
He was 15 when he discovered a lump on his lower abdomen. Doctors told Cannon it was an infection and would go away. But the lump eventually grew, and when he was a redshirt sophomore at TCU, doctors performed a needle biopsy.
"They always told me it was OK," Cannon said.
But, after the NFL Scouting Combine in February, rumors spread that Cannon had testicular cancer. That prompted the Indianapolis Colts, who were in the market for an offensive lineman with the 22nd overall pick, to request a full biopsy.
The result, which Cannon received eight days before the NFL Draft, was unexpected.
"It was pretty shocking," said Cannon's father, Ebbie Cannon. "We had never had cancer in our family. We thought maybe it was a mistake or something."
Cannon is one of the strongest players ever to play at TCU. He holds almost every one of the school's weight-room records, including the power clean (500 pounds), the squat (870), the bench press (575) and the incline press (565).
The cancer diagnosis, though, initially brought Cannon to his knees. With tears in his eyes and death in his thoughts, he drove his Toyota truck five hours to his parents' house in Odessa.
The family found comfort in prayer.
"We are a religious family, and we know prayer changes things," Ebbie said. "That was pretty much all I knew to do given the situation we were facing."
Cannon had his first chemo treatment on the first day of the draft. He might have been a late first-round pick, but the cancer diagnosis scared the 32 NFL teams as much as it scared Cannon.
Despite NFL teams being told by doctors in a memo that his chances of recovery are 90 percent, Cannon's stock dropped.
"I just feel badly that it all happened to him," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "I think we're going to beat it, because we caught it early enough, and because of the attitude that he's approached it with, but he could have gone higher in the draft and made more money."
'A good value'
The Patriots drafted Cannon 138th overall, with New England coach Bill Belichick calling Cannon "a good value."
"How will it work out?" Belichick said the day of the draft. "There are certainly a lot of moving parts and so forth.... We'll all have to find out how it turns out."
Cannon said he has no doubts he will play in the NFL for many years, though it remains to be seen whether he will spend this season on injured reserve.
Cannon has had nausea only once. The day after his first treatment, he didn't feel well and cut short his fishing trip with Jones. He hasn't lost his hair, and he has maintained his weight despite losing his appetite. (He said he dropped to 338 after his first chemo treatment before figuring out he had to eat despite not being hungry. He now weighs 348.)
Cannon lifts three days a week at a local gym and runs at TCU with former teammates. He regularly tests his strength by benching 315 pounds.
"If I can do it eight or nine times, I'm good," Cannon said.
The same day he had his third chemo treatment, Cannon swam and played basketball. He said he couldn't be better.
"All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing," Cannon said. "That's to keep praying and accept my healing."
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/07/03/3196927/former-tcu-standout-refusing-to.html#ixzz1R3XNSoX2