Quiet Cannon has opportunity in camp

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Quiet Cannon has opportunity in camp

FOXBORO -- Marcus Cannon had a crossbow for sale.

So he put it on Craigslist. From there, a special thing happened. Robert Rodriguez, an Iraqi War veteran who suffered head and shoulder injuries from an IED back in 2007, answered the ad and purchased the crossbow.

When Cannon learned Rodriguez' situation, Cannon delivered the crossbow personally and gave Rodriguez the crossbow for free.

Asked about the gesture on Sunday, Cannon said simply, "It was something like that."

The second-year tackle is not going to talk anyone's ear off. But he does have an opportunity in this camp to open some eyes.

With upheaval on the offensive line due to injuries and excused absences, Cannon's working extensively at right tackle in place of Sebastian Vollmer.

It's been a mixed bag. Cannon's a tenacious run-blocker but has had moments of inefficiency in individual drills focused on pass-blocking.

Cannon, who underwent treatement for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last summer and made his NFL debut in November, has changed his body noticeably. He's thinner in the face and seems more sturdily built.

He says he weighs about the same but credits the change to the offseason training program in Foxboro.

With Vollmer still not active, Cannon is likely going to spend a chunk of the preseason working at right tackle. It's a big opportunity for a player who had no preseason in 2010.

"We just do our jobs," said Cannon. "(Offensive line coach Dante) Scarnecchia is a great coach, he's always got everybody on whatever needs to be happening, he tells us what to do and it always works."

Hopes for the season?

"I want to get better every day, do the best I can and somehow help the team," Cannon said.

There's no doubt the former fifth-rounder can help. Whether he can wrest a spot from the oft-dinged Vollmer is the bigger question. So far, the answer is "unlikely."

But it's early and Cannon has shown in a lot of ways he's got a big heart.

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”