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Marcus Cannon opens up about his cancer diagnosis


In an interview of cancer-stricken TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon conducted after the Patriots made him a fifth-round draft pick, ESPN’s Suzy Kolber kept it light. As in very light. As in Stepford Wife light.

The interview, conducted with Kolber’s trademark perky nonchalance, made us wonder within the first couple of questions whether she even knew about the diagnosis. When it became obvious that she did, we wondered whether she realized that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a condition far more serious than an ingrown toenail.

In a new interview of Cannon, conducted by Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Cannon opens up about his diagnosis.

He had been told that the mass in his abdomen was benign, even after a biopsy had been conducted at the behest of one or more teams that were concerned about the condition. Cannon then found out that, despite the initial conclusion, the growth includes cancerous cells. He called his mother to break the news, and then the reality of it struck him.

“I broke down after that,’’ Cannon told Young. “I don’t know if it was more me, or telling somebody else, like thinking about what everybody else was going to feel. I just broke down after that.

“I got in my truck, started driving. I was crying. Hysterically. It was just fear -- I didn’t know what was going on.’’

His father was stunned by the news. “I was thinking they made a mistake. I was like, ‘Marcus don’t even catch colds, you know?” Ebbie Cannon told Young. “When [Marcus Cannon’s mother] Holly first told me, I thought, ‘No, this is a mistake.’ It was just unbelievable. We started talking to the doctor and seeing that it wasn’t a mistake and it just started going to the point of how do we deal with it and go from there.’’

When the growth was first discovered in 2006, a needle biopsy determined that it was benign. Marcus Cannon opted for a more extensive surgical biopsy this time around, in the hopes of settling the question once and for all.

Though the news wasn’t good, at least he now knows his true condition. And the prognosis remains positive. He had his first chemotherapy treatment on April 28, the first day of the draft, and he’ll have three more, with the last one coming on June 29.

Cannon remains upbeat and positive, and he’s not thinking about the money he lost by falling to round five because of the diagnosis. “You know, He has a plan,” Cannon said. “I’m not supposed to be thinking about stuff like that. I got close, I started thinking about it, and I was going to say something about it and something caught my tongue. I had to ask God for forgiveness for even thinking it. He has his plan for me; that’s not even something I need to worry about.

“I’m doing exactly what I want to do. 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.”

We’ll be keeping our eyes on Cannon’s situation, and we’re hoping that he’ll soon get the clean bill of health that he previously had thought he’d been given. Along the way, he’ll potentially inspire plenty of other victims of cancer who will resolve to continue to pursue their dreams while living through a nightmare.