FOXBORO -- The Patriots will let you know that they're not focused on individual awards or achievements. But the award that offensive lineman Marcus Cannon received on Thursday was one of a different beast.
Cannon was selected by his teammates as the recipient of the 2011 Ed Block Courage Award, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship, while also serving as a source of inspiration.
And the rookie's comeback story was inspiring enough to be given the award.
Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma following his senior season at Texas Christian University, prior to being selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Cannon was promoted to the active roster in mid-November, and has appeared in seven games since.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn't usually speak about individual achievements, but this one was worthy of heavy praise.
"Of course, Marcus has gone through a lot this year," he said on Thursday. "He's certainly had to deal with a lot more than a normal rookie would have to deal with. It's a big transition as it is, just coming into this league. He dealt with a lot, very maturely and unselfishly. He did what he had to do, but at the same time, he was always there for the team, and was always doing what he could to help the team. And he's helped the team in a lot of ways.
"I'm proud that he's on our team, and what he's accomplished. He certainly deserves to be recognized for it."