John Metchie III addresses Texans in wake of leukemia diagnosis

 John Metchie III addresses Texans in wake of leukemia diagnosis

Before the Houston Texans started camp this week, they received a special message from a member of the team that couldn’t be there. 

Rookie receiver John Metchie III, who announced earlier that he’d likely miss the season after being diagnosed with leukemia, addressed the Texans in a video before they started preparations for the season.

Coach Lovie Smith, who was promoted from defensive coordinator this offseason after David Culley was fired, said Friday that he normally opens camp with a speech to the team. But this year he thought it was more important for the guys to hear from Metchie first.

“We had a lot of questions about what’s going on with his health,” Smith said. “So, I let him talk to the football team to let them know what he has in store for this year and how it will affect our football team.”

Metchie said Sunday that he was recently diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The second-round pick from Alabama said he was taking time off from football to focus on his health and recovery.

Smith didn’t provide specifics about what the 22-year-old Metchie shared with the team but said that teammates and coaches alike were moved by his words.

“All I can say about that is that we have a family member who is fighting something serious,” Smith said. “We’re going to be there every step along the way with him. Eventually he will be back with our football team. We can’t wait for that.”

Veteran receiver Brandin Cooks had already developed a relationship with Metchie since the draft, with the rookie expected to compete for playing time at the receiver spot opposite Cooks.

He said seeing how upbeat he was on the video made everyone feel better about his diagnosis.

“His spirit is so amazing, his positivity going through all this,” Cooks said. “I’m like, man a lot of respect to you. He’s just built different. No doubt in our mind that he’s going to get through this and we’re going to be with him every step of the way.”

General manager Nick Caserio said there’s no timetable for Metchie’s return. He added that Metchie has been in contact with members of the coaching staff and that they’re trying to keep him engaged with the team during this difficult time.

“But the most important thing is his health and well-being,” Caserio said. “This isn’t about football … it’s just about him recovering and being able to lead a good life. And then we’ll see where we end up.”

The Texans discussed Metchie’s comments on Friday, the first day of camp that was open to the media. 

Reporting by the Associated Press

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