Each year, the NFL hosts a Scouting Combine. For those who do not know what that is, each year potential draftees into the NFL are invited to Indianapolis where they are tested for speed, strength and intelligence through a series of drills and tests. Teams use this time to help evaluate incoming talent and set up their wish list for the upcoming draft.
In 2011, Marcus Cannon was one of the players invited to the combine after an outstanding career at Texas Christian University. One of the standard tests that they do is a physical exam. During this exam, though, the excitement of being there and the expectation of things to come were derailed. Doctors had found an abnormal masses in his abdomen. You can read about it in this article from proplayerinsiders. The diagnosis was non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He began chemotherapy on the first day of the NFL draft. The next day, the Patriots drafted Cannon – expected to be 1st or 2nd round pick – in the fifth round of the draft. They placed him on injured reserve and his treatment continued. Cannon would make his debut later in that 2011 season. And the season would end up back at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis where the combine took place, this time as the Patriots played the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. As you can read in this article from Profootballtalk.com, it was a year of highs and lows, bookended by these trips to Indianapolis.
And in the midst of the pomp and circumstance of Super Bowl week, Cannon was given a great chance to share his story and how he leaned on his faith in God through the cancer. Read about it here. The article talks about Cannon’s story says “after a few dark days, he put his faith in God to pull him through. “God has a plan for all of us,” he said. “I think the biggest thing (he could say to anyone dealing with cancer) is to have faith, have trust in God that everything is going to be all right. If I didn’t trust in Him that everything would be all right, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Cannon finished 2011 cancer free and with a story to share about depending on God and seeing amazing things happen. Even though the Patriots did not win the Super Bowl that year, Cannon was a member of the Championship winning team from last season. He was also the Patriots winner of the 2011 Ed Block Courage award. The award is given by each team to the member of the team who demonstrates inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. It is voted on by teammates.
Here are my takeaways from Cannon’s story.
1- When Our Plans Fall Apart, What Then?– Cannon was expected to be a high draft pick and was in Indianapolis to win over potential teams at the scouting combine. When the results of his physical came back and cancer was found, it was a low point for Cannon. After a short time, Cannon leaned on God’s strength as he set out on the road to beat cancer. Where do you turn when things seem to be coming off the rails? What hard things have happened to you in your life and can you see how God has been at work? I promise that he is there in the midst of it all and His plans are even better than ours. I know that from experience. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and trust that He will work things out for his purposes.
2- The Platform of Miracles – Marcus Cannon spent his rookie season recovering from Cancer treatment and then earning a spot on the Patriots roster. As the season reached its final moments – Super Bowl week – Cannon was given a place to speak and many interested ears to hear his story of recovery and courage. There he was quick to share his faith in God as the reason that he was there and had overcome cancer. I believe that God is still in the business of miracles and in the business of amazing timing. It reassures me that He is in complete control. Let’s be bold and share about the miracles that God has done in our lives and let’s share about them on whatever platform He puts us on.