Cancer survivor Herzlich hoping to make Giants

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants gave Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich a chance to make the team as a free agent and the cancer survivor has made the most of it.

Herzlich has been impressive in the preseason and he will find out on Saturday whether it has been good enough to land a spot on the Giants‘ 53-man roster.

The 23-year-old from Wayne, Pa. knows the next 24 hours will be tough.

“I do feel like I’ve done what I could,” Herzlich said, who had six tackles, one sack, an interception and forced fumble in the preseason. “I’ve let it all out there. At the same time, I never feel satisfied with anything. I always want to get better. In the same light, I am never comfortable, so I hope I have done enough. It’s not in my control any more.”

Herzlich doesn’t want to spend Saturday worrying about the cuts. He plans to stay with fullback Henry Hynoski _ a fellow free agent and his roommate _ and sixth-round draft pick Tyler Sash waiting for the news.

Veteran Mathias Kiwanuka planned to take Herzlich and some of the other rookie linebackers out for dinner on Friday night to also take their minds off the cuts.

Herzlich’s chances of making the team improved on Thursday night when third-year pro Clint Sintim suffered a major knee injury and was put on injured reserve. It left nine linebackers on the roster, and the Giants usually carry eight.

In a training camp highlighted by injuries to cornerbacks Terrell Thomas and Prince Amukamara, and discord between defensive end Osi Umenyiora and the team over his contract, Herzlich’s story has been uplifting.

He was chosen ACC defensive player of the year after his sophomore season. He was diagnosed with bone cancer and missed the 2009 season. He returned in 2010 for the Eagles and started all 13 games. He had 65 tackles, forced two fumbles and intercepted four passes.

Not taken in the draft, the Giants gave him a chance.

Through it all, Herzlich has tried to downplay his illness and focus solely on football.

“I have tried to not have it follow me around so much,” he said. “When you are coming in as a rookie, you don’t want to draw a lot of attention to yourself. You don’t want to stand out in any way except in the positive on the field.

“I’ve tried to put that in the back pocket a little bit, and then as this season progresses and this season finishes, after we win the Super Bowl, then I’ll be able to get the charity work going again.”

For that to happen, Herzlich has to make the team. And after dealing with a rare form of cancer, Herzlich says there isn’t much stress waiting for final cuts.

“When you are going from seeing the biopsy shows your cancer has spread to other parts of your body or getting cut from a team, in this certain time period they both are very stressful,” he said. “But I’d say life and death is a little worse.”

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