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The debate and the competition at MLB has begun. The Giants are looking for leadership and production out of their middle linebacker spot this season. During their championship seasons they relied on the likes of gamers such as Antonio Pierce and Chase Blackburn.

This year, they will be relying on one of three players to wear the headset:

Mark Herzlich, whose well-documented battle back from cancer makes him a sentimental favorite.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants Defense
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LB Mark Herzlich will be front and center Sunday when the Giants play their first game since Hurricane Sandy walloped the NY Metro region. (Getty Images)

Cancer survivor Mark Herzlich will start at MLB for the Giants this week in place of the injured Chase Blackburn (hamstring). The former college superstar has fought a long, hard battle to get where he is today. He was asked how his fight with cancer equates to the battle local residents are faced with after the knockout punch delivered by Hurricane Sandy...

"I think it some ways it does because you have to start all over. You?ve basically put your life on hold. You take everything, and it stops in its track. You say, ?Now where am I going to go from here?? You lose your house, you lose everything that you?ve ever had, you have to put it in the tank and say, ?That?s it. That?s my life,? or you can say, ?where do I go from here. How do I fight back? How do I regain my possessions? How do I rebuild my life?? I think that?s the same thing that cancer patients and cancer survivors have to do. If they get a bad diagnosis, are they going to let it destroy them and defeat them or are they going to take one foot and put it in front of the other and fight back. "

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With Chase Blackburn expected to miss Sunday's showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers with a hamstring injury, cancer survivor Mark Herzlich will start at linebacker for the New York Giants.

Herzlich, a former Boston College standout, was struck with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, prior to his 2009 season. He had been coming off of a 2008 campaign in which he was voted a third-team AP All-American and the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year.

Herzlich returned to the Eagles' linebacking corps in 2010 and started all 13 games. He finished third on the team with 65 tackles, first with two forced fumbles, and second on the team with four interceptions. He won the Rudy Award and the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award for his effort.

Tags: Chase Blackburn, mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich
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When Chase Blackburn went down with a deep thigh bruise today, the Giants were left with only five of their ten linebackers active for today's practice.

Mark Herzlich took Blackburn's reps at MLB with the first team, an occurrence many believe will become the norm around here.

?Reps are reps, regardless," Herzlich said after practice as per Michael Eisen of Giants.com. "It?s cool getting a feel playing with JPP, playing with (Justin) Tuck, playing with Linval (Joseph). Those guys up front and getting the communication in the back end because it?s a little different with every guy. To be able to get a feel for that, I think it?s good practice for hopefully in the games."

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Giants' second-year LB Mark Herzlich has been reportedly working out like mad in order to compete for a spot on the suddenly-crowded LB corps. He got a chance to show his stuff last year, playing in 11 games and starting two before a broken ankle effectively ended his season.

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Mark Herzlich is a determined man.

The Giants' second-year linebacker overcame bone cancer in 2009 while?he was?at Boston College. He made the Giants' roster as an undrafted free agent last year.

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Facing a player like three-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and a team like the New England Patriots might seem a daunting task for a seldom-used NFL rookie in a game as big as the Super Bowl.

Maybe not though, for New York Giants? linebacker Mark Herzlich, compared to what he?s already beaten.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants News, Super Bowl XLVI
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The Giants are in desperate need of someone to step in to the middle of their defense to sure up the front four with the back seven. LB Jonathan Goff was on the verge of doing when he blew out his knee in the beginning of the season. Since then, the team has tried a myriad of things to alleviate his absence. It has been a rough go, to put it lightly.

The loss of Goff has expedited the learning process of four rookies linebackers: Greg Jones, Jacquain Williams, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich. Jones has been used as the MLB in the base package, which the team abandons in favor of a defensive-back-heavy alignment. Williams, who is not much bigger than a defensive back, sees time a spy and a rover.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants News
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Giants' rookie LB Mark Herlzich's battle with cancer has been well documented. But now that he is an NFL player with a bright future his story is even more compelling.

We think his story needs a wider audience. Our friends at 60 Minutes thought so, too. They will feature him in a segment on their October 30th broadcast.

From CBS News:

Tags: 60 Minutes, mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants News
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Giants' Rookie LB/cancer survivor Mark Herzlich and fellow Boston College alum Chris Snee joined Keli Coughlin on a conference call today to discuss annual ?Champions For Children? Gala and remember the late Jay McGillis, who inspired the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation.

The Champions For Children Gala is open to the public. Information is available by calling 212-627-1000 or by emailing jayfund@resevt.com. Details can be found at www.tcjayfund.org.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants News, The Jay Fund, Tom Coughlin
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Greg Jones will start at MLB for the Giants this week in Washington, but don't sleep on another rookie LB while all of this is going on. Mark Herzlich is currently Jones' backup and is very capable of playing the middle at this level as well.
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"I want to go from being a feel-good story to making an impact on the field," said Giants' rookie LB Mark Herzlich, who talks about his fight with cancer without hesitation, while giving clear hints that he would rather be discussing football.

That's his life now, and that's his focus.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News
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According to Mathias Kiwanuka, undrafted free agent Mark Herzlich is "on the doorstep" of being back to his old self, as per Alex Raskin of CBS Sports.

If true, Herzlich could really help the Giants on defense and on sepcial teams. Herzlich was dominant at Boston College; he was named 2008 ACC defensive player of the year and was considered a top ten pick in the draft before being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.?Two years later, Kiwanuka is now contending that Herzlich is close to the player he once was.

This could also be the case of one player trying to pump his own teammate up, and it should also be noted that Kiwanuka is a BC alum. Still, this is much closer to good new than bad news, and at this point, I'll count that as a win.

Tags: mark herzlich, Mark Herzlich, Mathias Kiwanuka
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The new CBA, unanimously ratified this past Monday by the players and owners, has resulted in a flurry of free agent signings and trades that have created an unprecedented onslaught of movement the NFL has never experienced. Across the board, general managers have been forced to part ways with veterans previously deemed inexposable, in an effort to shrink salary cap space and rapidly prepare their teams for the upcoming season via this shortened offseason.

For the Giants, locker room favorites Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert found themselves on the wrong end of this movement, as the Giants were forced to cut cap space in an effort to try and retain young talent while also evaluating the deep free agent pool created by the new labor agreement. (..more)

Tags: 2011 New York Giants, David Baas, Giants Training Camp, Mark Herzlich, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Free Agency, Pro Football NYC
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