One of the newest members to the Giants, linebacker
Quite literally providing a timeline, Herzlich chronicles his life through tweets, following his roundabout journey with cancer to the NFL while finding time to crack the occasional joke along the way.
Picking up with the Boston College product in early 2009, Herzlich, ready to defend his ACC Defensive Player of the Year award, was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Told he would never run again – let alone play football – Herzlich fought back and publicly announced on the October 3 airing of ESPN’s College Game Day (being held at Boston College that weekend) that he was cancer free, sitting out the rest of his would-be fourth season.
2 November 2009 @MarkHerzlich: As of 2:06pm the needles came out for the last time! I am officially DONE with chemo!!!! The lord has amazing power and strength.
The next day.
3 November 2009 @MarkHerzlich: Golfing to celebrate
With 2010 approaching, Herzlich, with a titanium rod inserted in his left leg where the tumor attacked, set his sights on the next goal: run through BC’s Alumni Stadium tunnel once again.
A year and a half after being diagnosed, Herzlich reflected on the eve of his return.
3 September 2010 @MarkHerzlich: Friends and family coming in to town getting so excited for tomorrow.
The next day, before a 38-20 victory over Weber State in the season opener, Herzlich led the team through the tunnel and onto the field, racking up five tackles in his first game back. Herzlich went on to start all 13 games in 2010 and finished third on the team in tackles with four interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Hoping to write the next chapter of his life, Herzlich prepared for the draft and was featured on NFL Videos’ “Everything to Prove” series, which follows prospects such as Jake Locker and Stephen Paea.
However, April 28 came and went for Herzlich, who did not hear his name called during the draft.
30 April 2011 @MarkHerzlich: I have been told that I can't play football before. We all know what happened with that. #neverquit
Regrouping, Herzlich headed back to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, training until the lockout was lifted.
Since becoming a national story, Herzlich’s twitter has become an outlet for him as well as providing a message board of sorts for other cancer patients and their families.
@moloch82: @MarkHerzlich hey! I had my first check last week (ewings sarcoma)! All clear! Keep it up!
@MickGiant Michael: @MarkHerzlich A prayer for my mother-in law who will be undergoing a surgery to remove cancerous tumor in breast. Thanks!
@BEWBerries Becca: @MarkHerzlich I pray everyday that my brother becomes a cancer survivor like you as he battles AML. You will inspire him #giants
After his uplifting story made the rounds through the sports community and beyond, Herzlich’s latest – but certainly not last – goal was achieved.
26 July 2011 @MarkHerzlich: Decision is made I will be a #GIANT can't wait to get to #NYC. Thank you for everything.