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Boston College star linebacker Mark Herzlich is returning to class this week and hopes to return to the football field next season. Herzlich is battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and was told he would never play football again. The 21 year old was the defense’s leader and was the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a Finalist for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. He has nearly finished his radiation treatment and has to complete five rounds of chemo, after which he hopes to be cleared to play again. He still has one small tumor remaining in his leg.
He intends to complete his degree in marketing this year, needing only four more classes to attain it, and spend additional time in non-contact aspects of the game. He will use the time to do more film study and will continue to keep himself in shape. He has maintained his workouts and has only lost a little weight, despite the taxing nature of the treatments. On the field, the Eagles will miss him as he was the team’s leader with 100 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and six interceptions. With the loss to the draft of bookend defensive tackles B. J. Raji and Ron Brace, his experience and talent was going to be tested even more.
First and foremost, we hope Mark can get past this, but anyone who follows Eagles football certainly hopes he can return to the field next season. Hopefully, this proves only to be a stumbling block to meeting his dream of playing in the NFL someday and not an end to his dream. His progress so far has been more than some thought he could accomplish, but anyone who knows him or has seen him play knows his ferocity.