Belichick: 'Encouraging' with Cannon

Michael Hickey/US Presswire

Marcus Cannon works out at the NFL combine in Indianapolis before the draft.

Patriots rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, who slipped to the fifth round of the draft after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, opened the year on the team's reserve/non-football injury list.

His possible return to the field was brought up Monday by coach Bill Belichick during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI (link here).

"Maybe Marcus Cannon will be able to get out there soon, too," Belichick said, in remarks that made it seem like a realistic possibility. "We'll see how that goes."

Belichick brought up Cannon while speaking on the team's other players on reserve lists. He was asked a follow-up question about how Cannon is doing from a health perspective.

"Good," he answered. "He's had some things he's had to do and those have gone along, so we'll see where that puts him, and what that timeframe is (before a decision has to be made on whether he starts practice by Week 9). We don't want anything to come before his physical health and what he needs to do. When we get the green light, we'll proceed from there."

Belichick was asked about Cannon's physical stature (6-5, 358), and he noted he's not a "sloppy (358)."

"He's a good athlete. He's definitely been able to do some things here in between some of his treatments and things that he's done. His strength level, his conditioning, his overall movement skills and all that have been impressive for his size. We'll see how all that translates to the football field and experience and plays and so forth, if and when that happens. It's definitely encouraging.

"Most importantly, I hope it happens for him. He's worked hard. I know it's important to him. I hope things clear up so he gets that opportunity. We'll just take it day by day and see how it goes."