In what has been an inspirational story as the offseason and regular season has progressed, rookie OL Marcus Cannon, a survivor of cancer, has been activated to the Patriots’ 53-man roster. He was taken off the PUP list on October 25 and began practicing with the team. Today was the deadline where the Patriots had to make a decision as to whether they should activate Cannon or place him on season-ending injured reserve. Apparently, despite undergoing chemotherapy during the offseason after the scouting combine, Marcus Cannon is healthy enough and ready to join the team’s active roster.
For those that may have forgotten, Marcus Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This form of cancer was caught by doctors at the NFL Scouting Combine, and while it was unlucky for his draft status, it likely saved his life. Cannon was projected to be either a late-first round pick or a second round pick before the diagnosis. The diagnosis could have knocked him completely out of the draft, but the Patriots took a chance on him in the fifth round. Now, less than a year after being diagnosed, he could see his first game action this Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In terms of what it means from a team standpoint, Cannon bolsters the depth at both tackle and guard. He has more experience playing tackle but at 6-5, 358 pounds, he could play guard if necessary and has likely seen some time in practice at the position. The Patriots have had their share of injuries along the offensive line, with center Dan Koppen out for the season and tackles Sebastian Vollmer (back) and Nate Solder (concussion) hurt. With the activation of Cannon, the Pats now have a backup at both the tackle and guard positions. That represents pretty good value, and we all know how much Bill Belichick loves value. The one unfortunate footnote of this story is that poor Ross Ventrone has been cut once again to make room for Cannon. That makes what may as well be the 100th time Ventrone has been released by the Patriots.
Cheers to Marcus Cannon. Hopefully his example, along with that of Giants LB/former BC LB Mark Herzlich, shows those unfortunate folks dealing with cancer that there is indeed hope.