Patriots’ Brandon Bolden Opens up on Cancer Battle and Desire to Be a ‘Voice’ of Encouragement

Article Highlights:

  • New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden wants to be a voice of encouragement for cancer patients
  • The two-time Super Bowl champion underwent surgery for epidermoid carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, in 2018
  • Bolden is working with the American Association for Cancer Research to achieve his goal

Longtime New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden had more significant issues to worry about than unrestricted free agency or his inching ever closer to 30 years old when the 2017 season ended.

Bolden, 28 at the time, had cancer. Specifically, he had epidermoid carcinoma, a treatable form of skin cancer.

Four years after undergoing surgery and temporarily losing function on the right side of his face, Bolden opened up about his journey with Sportscasting and explained why he is dedicated to becoming a voice of encouragement for cancer patients.

Patriots running back Brandon Bolden wants to be a voice of encouragement for cancer patients

Although he had surgery during the 2018 offseason, Bolden didn’t publicly reveal his cancer battle until December 2021. Ahead of a Week 17 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the veteran running back shared an Instagram video with pictures from his time in the hospital.

At the time, Bolden admitted he wasn’t sure if he would play another down in the NFL. After undergoing surgery, he spent the 2018 season with the Miami Dolphins and only had 11 offensive touches that season. The Ole Miss product’s action primarily came through playing 66% of the Dolphins’ special teams snaps. He rejoined the Patriots ahead of the 2019 season and has stuck around since.

When he spoke with Sportscasting over two months later, Bolden explained why he wants to use his journey to help others.

“A lot of people look at the estimates and, you know, once you get on top of everything, you can beat it and continue to be cancer-free,” Bolden said. “So I just kind of want to be that voice of keep going, keep fighting, and take control of your whole life.

“It doesn’t even have to be cancer. It could be anything from the smallest thing to the biggest thing.”

Bolden is working with the American Association for Cancer Research to achieve his goal

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden in 2021.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden opened up about his cancer journey | Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bolden played eight of his first nine seasons for Bill Belichick, endured brutal hits along the way, and helped the Patriots rally from a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl 51 in February 2017.

Cancer is a far greater foe than impressing Belichick or breaking through an imposing front seven.

Knowing full well how intimidating cancer can be, Bolden said he’s now working with the American Association for Cancer Research to raise awareness. The two plan on holding an event in April and will provide details later.

“I’m here to help everybody else and just be a voice for those who would tend to be afraid of a situation like that,” Bolden said.

Bolden is still feeling good after an excellent 2021 season

Before announcing his Bolden’s decision to embrace being a voice of encouragement in the fight against cancer was a significant part of arguably his finest season as a pro. The veteran running back rushed for 226 yards (his most since 2013) and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

Bolden also added a career-high 41 catches, 405 yards, and two touchdowns in 17 games. He added four receptions and 27 yards in the Patriots’ Wild Card Round loss to the rival Buffalo Bills.

When he spoke with Sportscasting, Bolden called the 2021 campaign one of his favorite seasons and offered lofty praise for young quarterback Mac Jones, who won 10 of his 17 starts as a rookie. The Alabama product completed 67.6% of his passes for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions en route to finishing second in AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.

“He’s a hell of a football player and a hell of a competitor,” Bolden said.

Four years ago, Bolden didn’t know if he’d play football again. Now, the former Ole Miss standout is offering praise for a quarterback who starred at SEC rival Alabama. These might be strange times, but Bolden made it clear he’s trying to make the most of them.

Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.

RELATED: Cowboys Center Tyler Biadasz’s Trio of Charity Work, Meditation, and Yoga Has Him Feeling Sharp After an Improved Sophomore Season