INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Herzlich knows what it takes to defeat a powerful opponent.
His Giants have yet to play the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, but the rookie linebacker won the biggest battle of his life when he overcame Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
That story of survival led Herzlich to tweet this message upon the Giants’ Monday night arrival at Indianapolis International Airport: “2 yrs ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in The #SuperBowl. #TakeThat**** Cancer.”
“I was very pleased and very happy that so many people got to see it because that’s part of what my goal is and what my mission is,” Herzlich said Tuesday at Media Day. “This week’s all about football and all about playing, but there are people that are out there going through cancer right now and saying, ‘He’s doing it. I can do it.’ …
“It’s a real privilege and a blessing to play in it. I’ve come from a different, tough place in my life with being sick, and just two short years later, to be able to play in the Super Bowl, that’s great.”
According to Herzlich, football was the second-biggest motivator, only behind his family, in his battle with cancer. He even made a highlight tape of himself from Boston College’s 2008 season to help him “through the bad days” of chemotherapy.
Since he was a Boston College student at the time of his diagnosis, Herzlich received a lot of support in New England. Although most of those fans will pull for the Patriots on Sunday, a few likely will cheer for Herzlich, too.
“It’s interesting to have Boston fans root for any sort of Giant, but I appreciate everything, and the support I got all through school was unbelievable,” Herzlich said. “Even today, I got tweets from people saying, ‘I am a Patriots fan. I hope you lose, but I wish you well in your life and career.’ “
– Matt Florjancic, Special to NFL.com