Patriots' Calvin Anderson on the comeback trail after battling malaria and heart contusion

Patriots offensive tackle Calvin Anderson signed with New England last year and quickly earned a spot in the starting lineup. But things did not go according to plan.

Anderson has revealed in an interview with the Boston Globe that he contracted malaria on a trip to Africa before training last year, which is why he started the year on the non-football illness list. Anderson's condition was so serious that he was hospitalized in Massachusetts with a 104.5-degree fever, and doctors told him he had only a 50-50 chance of surviving.

Although Anderson managed to start the first two games of the regular season, he felt wiped out by missing out on the conditioning work he needed in training camp. Then, during a mid-season practice, he took a hit to the chest, felt pain and ended up diagnosed with a heart contusion. That injury landed him on injured reserve.

But now Anderson says he's in great shape and feeling so good that his family talks about him being this year's NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

“If I were to win Comeback Player of the Year, it would come with a lot of good play . . . which is why I’m in the gym getting crazy-big right now,” he said. “Don’t let that get lost, either. But if I were to win Comeback Player of the Year, it wouldn’t be about me, but about how God brought me back from this.’'

Anderson will have to compete for playing time on the Patriots' offensive line this offseason, but he's already made a significant comeback in his life, getting back to full medical clearance to play.