Marcus Cannon’s journey to the Mount Rushmore of winning hasn’t been an easy one, despite the success he has had.
The current New England Patriot tackle has been through more than most in his 30 years, battling cancer and injuries on his way to Super Bowl glory.
A three star recruit out of Odessa, TX, Cannon signed with the Horned Frogs as a member of the class of 2006 - choosing TCU over offers from A&M, Iowa State, Kansas, and UTEP. He began his career as a right tackle, starting nearly every game his first three years. He moved to left tackle as a senior, part of an offensive line unit that allowed just nine sacks of Andy Dalton during all of the undefeated 2009 campaign, a season that ended 13-0 with a program-defining victory in the Rose Bowl.
Cannon’s TCU teams won 41 games over his four year playing career, including a stunning 36-3 record his final three seasons. After the Rose Bowl, he began preparations for the NFL Combine, where he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma during routine medical evaluations. The diagnosis caused his draft stock to plummet; once considered a possible second round pick, with some first round interest, Cannon stayed on the board until the fifth round, where the Patriots scooped him up with pick number 138. Cannon received chemotherapy treatment during the lockout over the summer prior to his rookie season, spending the first nine weeks of the year on the non-football injury list. He was activated to the 53-man roster for New England’s week ten game, and got his first playing experience the following week against Kansas City. Cannon has played in 118 games since, across eight seasons, including 18 playoff games. Of his 100 career regular season games, he has started 54 of them, mostly at right tackle. He has played in five Super Bowls, winning three - including this year’s - and the Patriots have shown their gratefulness for his contributions, inking him to a five year, 32 million dollar deal during the 2017 season.
Despite dealing with a slough of injuries over his career - a toe injury in 2015 limited him to 12 games, an ankle injury in 2017 cut his season short after seven and a half games, and this past year he missed one game due to a calf injury and two more with a concussion - he has been one of the best players on an offensive line that has been exceptional in front of Tom Brady - a quarterback who was hardly touched, let alone sacked, through the first two playoff games of their championship run. A second team all pro member in 2017, Cannon has not had much recognition, but has been steady and reliable - he has just 28 career accepted penalties and one career fine. Hard work brought him to the mountaintop, and he’s quick to credit where that was learned:
There have been many great Pro Frogs throughout the year - LaDainian Tomlinson is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest ever, Andy Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, Jerry Hughes is annually one of the most feared pass rushers in the league, Bob Lilly, Sammy Baugh, and Davey O’Brien are all-timers and legends.
But, no one has won more than Marcus Cannon, a product of his exceptional ability and being a part of the most successful franchise in sports. A success that he has been a large part of. While he is unlikely to be a Hall of Famer or an all time great, it’s hard to argue with holding the Lombardi Trophy up three times - something only one other Frog has done (Larry Brown with the Cowboys in the 90’s). He may not be the best player the Frogs have produced, but he has clearly enjoyed the most team success. And, as any player will tell you - no individual accolade is worth more than winning a ring.
All Marcus does, it seems, is win. And that’s quite a legacy to leave.
Here are the other Horned Frogs to hold up the Lombardi Trophy, via TCU Athletics:
TCU Players on Super Bowl Championship Teams
Josh Boyce – New England Patriots (Super Bowl XLIX)
Larry Brown – Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
Norm Bulaich – Baltimore Colts (Super Bowl V)
Marcus Cannon – New England Patriots (Super Bowl XLIX, LI, LIII)
Tommy Joe Crutcher – Green Bay Packers (Super Bowl I, II)
Charles Davis – Pittsburgh Steelers (Super Bowl IX)
Norm Evans – Miami Dolphins (Super Bowl VI, VII)
Clint Gresham – Seattle Seahawks (Super Bowl XLVIII)
Gaylon Hyder – St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl XXXIV)
Cedric James – New England Patriots (Super Bowl XXXIX)
Bob Lilly – Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl VI)
James Maness – Chicago Bears (Super Bowl XX)
Mickey McCarty – Kansas City Chiefs (Super Bowl IV)
Marshall Newhouse – Green Bay Packers (Super Bowl XLV)
Jared Retkofsky – Pittsburgh Steelers (Super Bowl XLIII)
Bo Schobel – Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI)
Michael Toudouze – Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI)
Greg Townsend – Los Angeles Raiders (Super Bowl XVIII)
Ryan Tucker – St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl XXXIV)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai – Philadelphia Eagles (Super Bowl LII)