The ACC introduced to the media the players to watch in the conference yesterday to open up the ACC Football Kickoff Weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina. No player could top the showing by Boston College’s Mark Herzlich, the linebacker who returns to the field this season after a battle with cancer threatened his playing career.
Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in May of 2009 when doctors told the Eagles linebacker that he may never be able to run again. After months of treatment Herzlich is prepared to prove to everyone that it is possible to not let cancer ruin your dreams.
Just months after being told his ability to run would be lost the doctors have since informed Herzlich that his leg is in no more risk of injury than it was before for the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Doctors did say though that should Herzlich injure his leg the recovery time could be longer than normal.
“I can’t play overly cautious,” Herzlich said. “Whether a freak accident happens to me on the field or in a car accident, I can’t let it bother me. I have to make my leg as strong as possible. If some freak accident happens, it happens.”
When the Eagles open up camp they will start hitting each other on August 13, a date Herzlich has circled in his mind.
“Hitting is the best part about what I do,” said Herzlich to the Boston Herald. “A lot of it is mental, but at linebacker, you’ve got to hit people, you’ve got to hit people hard, you’ve got to be physical and angry all the time on the field. Aug. 9 is when we start camp and so I’ll be hitting (BC offensive lineman) Anthony Castonzo and (running back) Montel Harris, and that’ll feel good. But once we get to Weber State on Sept. 4, that’s when I can really unload and hit.”
Having Herzlich back in the defensive mid-field will be a tremendous plus for Boston College, who could be in position to make a run in the ACC.