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BC's Herzlich has cancer

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 14, 2009 01:59 PM

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Boston College disclosed today that senior linebacker Mark Herzlich, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, has been diagnosed with the cancer Ewing's Sarcoma, a malignant tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue of children and young adults.

The following is a statement from the 21-year-old Herzlich via press release:

"This past week, I got some news nobody wants to hear. After undergoing some tests to determine the cause of some pain I had been experiencing in my leg, I learned that I have Ewing's Sarcoma.

"Obviously, I was shocked. I had been extremely focused on preparing for my senior season at Boston College and for life beyond that. Now, I must channel all that energy into facing my toughest opponent yet, and that is exactly what I will do.

"I have returned to Pennsylvania to be near my family and to undergo a series of tests that will help my doctors determine the best course of treatment. I will keep you informed about my progress, but for now, I would like to ask for privacy as my family and I make some tough decisions.

"At this point, I do not know what this means for my football future, but I am determined to rid my body of this disease so that I can put that uniform back on. Thank you in advance for your prayers and concern. Together, we will fight this and win."

The school issued this statement from coach Frank Spaziani:

"We all were stunned when we heard this news. Mark is a member of the BC football family and one of the most recognizable faces on our campus. From the day he stepped foot on our campus, he has been a leader on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

"When people think of Mark Herzlich, they think of a fearless individual who is always ready to take on a tough opponent. His integrity, determination and focus are unmatched. I know he will face this challenge with that same attitude.

"Our thoughts today are not on football, they are on Mark Herzlich. His health is our only concern, and we will stand beside him every step of the way."

Herzlich, a 6-foot-4-inch, 238-pounder from Wayne, Pa., was a first-team All-America selection last year by Rivals.com and Scouts.com and was a member of the Associated Press All-America third team.

He led the Eagles last season with 110 tackles, 6 interceptions, 8 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

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