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As many expected, it did not take long for Mark Herzlich to find a home in the NFL once the lockout finally ended. On the first day in which teams could sign undrafted free agents, the BC alumnus agreed to a contract with the New York Giants. Herzlich announced his signing via twitter, saying:
“Decision is made I will be a #GIANT can’t wait to get to #NYC. Thank you for everything.”
Herzlich is finally a part of an NFL roster after a lengthy wait. He was not selected in April’s draft, and teams knew that once the lockout ended, he would be one of the most sought after undrafted free agents of his class.
Herzlich’s story is one that Boston and college football fans alike know well. After a first team All-American junior season in which he was heralded as a sure thing top-10 draft pick, Herzlich announced in May of 2009 that he had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He missed the entire 2009 season, but after nearly five months of battling the disease, announced that he was cancer free in September. He returned in 2010 to start every game for the Eagles, finishing third on the team in tackles in his senior season.
After going undrafted in April, Herzlich was selected by the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League, but said that he was planning on waiting for an NFL contract. He has been training in Florida, according to ESPN, and says his health is great and he feels as strong as ever.
Herzlich, like every undrafted rookie, will still face an uphill battle to make it through training camp and preseason and earn a spot on the Giants’ 53-man roster. He will likely have to carve out a niche on special teams or in certain situational defensive packages.
There may be a long way to go until Herzlich will be delivering devastating hits on Sundays, but the way he has battled through adversity, he certainly makes it tough to bet against him. There is just something about him that makes you feel this is only the beginning of his legacy.