Cannon 'blessed' to be drafted by Patriots


Cannon 'blessed' to be drafted by Patriots

By DannyPicard

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Marcus Cannon knew the questions were coming. He just didntknow who they would be coming from, or when exactly theyd be asked.

But the 6-foot-5, 358-pound offensive lineman from TCU wasdrafted by the Patriots in the fifth round (138th overall) on Saturday, whichbrought up the uncomfortable topic of Cannons latest health issue.

Cannon was recently diagnosed with a treatable form oflymphoma, which was a reason his stock fell in the draft.

The Patriots, however, liked him enough during his pre-draftworkout with the team, that they decided to select him with their first pick onDay Three of the draft.

It was a blessing, said Cannon in a conference call. Meand my family were pretty ecstatic. After all that weve figured out in thelast couple of weeks, its just a blessing to have this opportunity to play inthe NFL.

Cannon said he hasnt been as emotional about the lymphomarevelation as one would expect. Perhaps thats because it hasnt yet sunk in.

He began treatment on Thursday, and said he doesnt knowwhen hell be finished with those treatments.

I listen to whatever the doctors tell me to do, saidCannon. Ive started treatment. Just listen to them, and just do what they sayand do all my treatment. Thats all I can do.

Im just happy that I got picked up today by the Patriots,he said, when asked how many more treatments hed need. Im just happy to bewith my family. Were going to take it day by day, you know?

When asked how he felt today, health-wise, Cannon said, Ifeel awesome. God blessed me.

This is something that I have to go through, he said. Godwouldnt put this on my plate if this was something I couldnt have handled. Iknew this was going to happen, I was going to have to talk about this the wholetime.

Im just taking my treatment day by day, and whenever Imdone with my treatment, is when I get to go play football.

As for his on-field attributes, Cannon said hes neverplayed guard, but would do so, if asked.

I think I bring a big frame that moves as fast as everybodyelse, or faster, said Cannon. A lot of power. And I bring a good personalityto the team.

Half the teams worked me out at guard, half the teams hadme at tackle. I really didnt care where they put me. Ill play at either oneof them.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on

Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards


Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards

FOXBORO -- Patriots left tackle Nate Solder has been through a lot over the last few years. 

He battled and beat testicular cancer before the 2014 offseason and then went on to help the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title. In 2015, he tore his biceps in Week 5 and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve. Just weeks later after suffering that season-ending injury, Solder's son, Hudson, was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor in his kidneys. 

A quiet leader in the Patriots locker room, Solder has used his platform with the team to spread awareness stemming from personal hardships in addition to serving as a prominent supporter of the Hockomock Area YMCA. For his devotion to helping those in need, and for the example he sets at his job and in the community, he has been named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner for 2016. 

Solder also participated in the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative wearing cleats to raise awareness for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which gives financial aid to cancer patients and their families. He also supports The Fresh Truck, which describes itself as a mobile food market on a mission to radically improve community health.

Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker and Tedy Bruschi have also recently been named Ed Block Courage Awards-winners for the Patriots. 

The team's training staff, led by head trainer Jim Whalen and assistant trainer and director of rehabilitation Joe Van Allen, was also honored on Tuesday as it was named the 2016 Ed Block Courage Award NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.

"The annual award, named for the longtime head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts who demonstrated an untiring dedication to helping others, recognizes an NFL staff for their distinguished service to their club, community and athletic training profession," the Patriots announced in a statement. 

In the release, trainer Daryl Nelson and physical therapist Michael Akinbola are also credited with helping keep the Patriots healthy. 

Others, including head strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera and team nutritionist Ted Harper, have a hand in keeping players at their physical peak. Combined, given the overall health of the roster this season, they've all had a hand in keep the team humming as it heads into its sixth consecutive AFC title game.

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.

“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.” 

Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.

“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”

Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."