BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon has been selected by his teammates as the recipient of the 2011 Ed Block Courage Award.

The honor is voted on by teammates and bestowed annually upon the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.

“Great selection,” head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday afternoon. “Of course, Marcus has gone through a lot this year. He’s certainly had to deal with a lot more than a normal rookie would have to deal with, which is a big transition as it is, just coming into this league. He dealt with a lot very maturely and unselfishly. He did what he had to do, but at the same time he was always there for the team and was always doing what he could to help the team and he’s helped the team in a lot of ways.”

Prior to being selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He completing treatments and began the season on the reserve/non-football injury list before being promoted to the active roster in mid-November. Cannon made his NFL debut on Monday Night Football against Kansas City the following week, playing on the field goal and extra point units before entering the game at right tackle late in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud that he’s on our team and what he’s accomplished. He certainly deserves to be recognized for it,” added Belichick.

Read: Brady Named AFC Offensive Player of the Month

Cannon played in a reserve role on special teams and at offensive tackle in the Patriots final seven games of the season, seeing significant time at right tackle against the Dolphins on December 24.

The Ed Block Courage Award is named after Ed Block, a long-time head trainer for the Baltimore Colts and a respected humanitarian dedicated to helping children. Recipients are often players who have overcome devastating injuries or tragedies in their personal lives to return to top-level competition in the NFL.

Read: Levan Reid’s Patriots Blog

Cannon and award winners from the 31 other NFL teams will be honored at the 34th Annual Ed Block Courage Awards Banquet in Baltimore on March 13, 2012.

The Patriots have a first-round bye, but be sure to tune in to a special playoff edition of Patriots GameDay Sunday January 8 at 11:30am on WBZ-TV. Then on Saturday, January 14, tune in to the Pats Playoff matchup on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub at 8pm. Pregame coverage begins with 98.5′s Patriots Preview at 5pm.


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