May 21, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Giants player Mark Herzlich tries on a pair of Google glasses as he arrives for the 2014 Sports Business Awards at the New York Marriott Marquis. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Giants MLB Mark Herzlich: Football Player or Actor?

Is New York Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich a football player? Or is he a Giant actor, writer, cancer survivor, witty interview, interesting guy, your inspiration…

Now, he’s a hero, he’s fascinating, he’s in on all the latest trends and he’s truly a powerful story… but can he make an impact on the Giants roster. Will he even make the team? We know he can make the TMZ roster talking about roles on Game of Thrones, but should he be more concerned with his role in NFL Week 1 with the Giants. Or is Mark Herzlich already a lock due to the $1,000,000 contract he signed on March 7th, 2014?

It’s true, a million dollars doesn’t guarantee much in the NFL these days, but outside of simple dollars and cents remains the question: can Mark Herzlich help the New York Giants win football games?

Let’s look at the numbers:

  • He was forced to take 370 linebacker snaps over the past two seasons because of injury. The folks at Pro Football Focus did not praise his work: -11.1 overall, -5.7 run defense and -7.0 in coverage.
  • Herzlich has been targeted 19 times in coverage over the last two years, and 17 have resulted in completion totaling 171 yards and 3 TD’s.
  • Major impact on an NFL roster has been as a special teams player, where he notched 10 solo tackles in 2013.
  • Between weeks 6-17 last season he took a total of 26 snaps at linebacker.

There’s no question as to whether Mark Herzlich is a great story. Don’t take my word for it — read his book summary, it’ll tell you all you need to know:

In 2011, Mark Herzlich became a starting linebacker for a New York Giants team that would win the Super Bowl—just two years after he had been told that he would never play football again. Now Herzlich tells his triumphant story for the first time.

As a child, Herzlich found an inspiring and grounding force in football, eventually turning his passion into a first-team All-American spot at Boston College. But after being named the conference’s top defensive player his junior season, the budding star was sidelined by a persistent, debilitating pain in his left leg.

After months of tests, Herzlich received a shocking diagnosis: He had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Doctors put his odds of survival as low as fifteen percent—and no one thought he would be able to run, much less play, again. Then Herzlich learned of a radical alternative treatment that would give him the best chance to regain his strength and maybe even play football again. He had a choice to make, one that would allow him the chance to return to the game he loved, but it came at the risk of his life.

Herzlich relied on family, friends, faith, and deep wells of determination to help him through treatment, and his drastic plan worked. Not only could he run, but he was stronger than ever physically, and mentally ready to battle his way to a spot on an NFL roster. When he was passed over by all 32 teams in the draft, he dug deeper and continued his training, winning a spot in the Giants’ training camp, and eventually, on the team.

Mark Herzlich fought a battle against cancer, against statistics, and some days against himself. Told with candor and raw emotion, this is a story for anyone who has ever fought to beat the odds, for anyone who has ever been told that what they are about to attempt is next to impossible.

Herzlich’s story embodies powerful lessons about what can be achieved through persistence and belief, and he serves as living proof that overcoming the impossible is only the beginning.

And, of course you can purchase that book on Amazon here, where I lifted that quote. It probably is an amazing book. While I haven’t read it yet, I’m deeply intrigued by Mark Herzlich’s story. It s true, the man is a Super Bowl Champion and a real inspiration to us all.

Can he play football for the New York Giants?

Obviously Mark Herzlich can play some football, or he wouldn’t be in the NFL.  Looking at the stats and film,  Mark excels as a special teamer and possesses a brilliant take no prisoners attitude on the JINTS field. Every play.  We realize he’s overcome more odds than most people have to deal with in a lifetime and I don’t mean to bash on his hopes and dreams.

However, in reality, the Giants are in the business of accumulating W’s and every roster spot is precious. Unfortunately, showing up on the field and going through the passionate motions is not sufficient. The man is a Super Bowl Champion and a real inspiration to us all, but Herzlich still has an uphill battle if he wants to be an every Sunday contributor for the New York Football Giants (versus becoming an every down player for Game of Thrones… HA).

That said, if anyone can do it, it’s Mark Herzlich. What a GIANT human being. What a story.


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