HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — After a long offseason, the Houston Texans returned to the practice field early Friday morning and held their first practice at training camp. As usual, many eyes are on returning quarterback Davis Mills and the new Hotshot rookies.
But the absence of a player on the field is still felt by the entire team.
On Sunday, five days before the team’s first practice session at training camp, rookie receiver John Metchie III announced he was battling acute promyelocytic leukemia and was unlikely to play this 2022 season.
Metchie, who is already receiving medical attention for what he believes is the most curable form of leukemia, is not on the team. However, head coach Lovie Smith made sure that Metchie still influences this squad.
As the Texans gathered to start camp, head coach Smith, rather than address the team himself, let the 22-year-old former University of Alabama standout do the work. Metchie spoke to his teammates and coaches via video about the cancer battle he’s facing.
RELATED: Houston Texans rookie WR John Metchie III diagnosed with leukemia
“He spoke to the team. It was nice to see that he was in good hands,” said Texas linebacker Christian Kirksey. “He’s fine. He’s fighting and we’re fighting for him and he’s still pushing us and that’s our teammate. It felt good to see him smiling, confident and uplifted. You know, we’ll be here every step of the way with him.”
“Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Texas receiver Brandin Cooks said. “The first time you meet him, his spirit is just so amazing. His positivity going through it all, I’m like, man, a lot of respect for you because he’s just built differently. We have no doubt that he will see it through and we will be with him every step of the way and lots of love for him. I can’t wait for him to recover.
“Luckily, we’re blessed to have some of the best doctors and the best hospitals in Houston, so he was looked after very well,” said Nick Caserio, the Texans’ general manager. “Our medical staff, especially the Texans, our coaches, our medical staff, Dr. James Muntz, did an incredible job of helping him when he was actually not in Houston. He was outside of Houston when this was discovered. He’s in good spirits, he’s kinda taking it one day at a time so there’s no schedule. We try to keep him busy, try to include him, but the most important thing is his health and well-being. This isn’t about football. It’s just that he recovers and has a good life and then we’ll see where we end up here.”
The Texans traded in the second round during the 2022 NFL Draft, sending three picks to the Cleveland Browns to select Metchie as the 44th pick overall.
For more sports news, follow Adam Winkler on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.
https://abc13.com/houston-texans-john-metchie-iii-training-camp-leukemia/12083384/ Houston Texans training camp begins with a noticeable absence from rookie wide receiver John Metchie III after he revealed cancer diagnosis