Mark Herzlich Will Lead the Emotional Charge Tomorrow

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. “

The Giants have their own issues. Many of them have no power and some players – and their families – have been driven from their homes. Essential services and commodities are scarce and at a premium. Even Tom Coughlin said he’d be out of gas by today. Herzlich was asked if it would help the area if the team plays well tomorrow:

Maybe emotionally, maybe, but at the end of the day, we’re playing a football game and these people have lost their houses and have damaged everything they own. If they can even watch the game, then hopefully we can give them something to be happy about. They have a lot of problems that are tough for us to help with. 

The second-year LB, who has gained a reputation as a dedicated, workout-warrior, was asked if the game was more meaningful because the Giants were playing on behalf of the people.

I think so. It’s kind of interesting; the first game of my career was against the Redskins on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You felt that emotion that day in Washington and I think that when we go on the field this Sunday, you’re going to feel that emotion again where, this is a strong country and everybody in the stadium, whether they’re Pittsburgh fans or New York fans, they’re going to be pulling for the people who are fighting back from the storm.