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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Panthers' Fields returns to practice after cancer treatment

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posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 03:35 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Less than 10 months after being diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, Carolina Panthers linebacker Mark Fields was back on the field Monday, practicing at full speed with his teammates.

Fields has been little more than an onlooker during the first two weeks of the team's minicamp. Doctors cleared him for practice, and he began working in team drills with the staring defense for the first time since the cancer diagnosis ended his 2003 season last August.

"Lance Armstrong said it best when you get a second chance, you're going to go all out,'' Fields said of the five-time Tour de France champion, who overcame cancer.

"Now it's just a matter of me maintaining and trying to keep it slow until we get to September because we have a long way to go.''

Fields worked along with Sam Mills, the team's linebackers coach, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall. Mills continues to undergo treatment and also continues to coach. Fields said he expects to practice throughout training camp and promised to be ready for Carolina's Sept. 13 opener against Green Bay.

But Fields and the coaching staff acknowledge he still has a long way to go before returning to top physical shape.

"It was great to see Mark back out there,'' defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac said. "He's a little rusty on some things, but it was good to see him out there. I think he will be ready to go by the start of camp. His body is so well conditioned that he will be fine. He just has to get all of that poison out of him.''

After being diagnosed with Hodgkins disease last August, Fields underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Those sessions ended a couple of months ago, and Fields was allowed to begin running again.

He suited up in a practice jersey for both of the team's minicamps, but sat on the sideline when the practice turned to team drills.

When he finally got on the field Monday, he was greeted by smiles and pats on the back.

"I'm young and I have a chance to play and the season I finished on that is what I want to get back to,'' Fields said.

Fields, who started every game for the Panthers in 2002, recorded perhaps his best season as a pro with a team-high 127 tackles, 7.5 sacks and a team-record seven forced fumbles. But he missed the season that ended with a last-second Super Bowl loss to New England.

Now he's itching to put the pads on when the Panthers go to Spartanburg, S.C., on July 30 for the start of training camp.

"This is flag football right now,'' Fields said. "I think a lot of guys are ready to take the shorts off and put on the pads. We're looking forward to training camp. I know I am. The last time I was there I had to leave a little early, so I'm looking for a nice long stay this time.''

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:04 PM

Panthers' Fields to miss 2005 season after recurrence of cancer

When his Pro Bowl season ended, linebacker Mark Fields joked that he was re-signing with the Carolina Panthers for $2 as gratitude for their support during his battle with Hodgkin's disease.

But when the weeks turned into months and there was no deal, and then his agent said Fields was holding off signing a new contract until after a round of medical tests, many began to wonder if something was wrong.

It was. Fields learned Thursday his cancer was back, in the early stages, and announced through his agent that he would miss the 2005 season.

It was difficult news for the Panthers, who lost linebackers coach Sam Mills three weeks ago after his own battle with cancer.

Fields and Mills spent all of 2003 fighting their illnesses together. They were diagnosed within two weeks of each other before the start of the season, and bonded to discuss treatment options while supporting each other through grueling rounds of chemotherapy.

The Panthers rallied around them, wearing T-shirts under their jerseys bearing both of their numbers and using Fields and Mills as motivation during their Super Bowl season.;_ylc=X3o'___'BpNWZic251BF9TAzI1NjY0ODI1BHNlYwN0aA--?slug=ap-panthers-fields&prov=ap&type=lgns

More sad news from the Panthers, I hope he can pull through this again.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 06:56 PM
It's a shame that the big C strikes the panthers twice, so close together. This franchise, without a long history, has sufferd human loss and suffering more than most with long histories.

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