The wide receiver was diagnosed with what he says is the most curable form of leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After a long offseason, the Houston Texans returned to the practice field early Friday morning, hosting their first practice of training camp. As usual, many eyes are on returning quarterback Davis Mills and the new hotshot rookies.
But one player's absence on the field is still being felt by the entire team.
On Sunday, five days before the team's first training camp practice, rookie receiver John Metchie III announced he is battling acute promyelocytic Leukemia and is unlikely to play during this 2022 season.
Metchie, who is already receiving medical care for what he says is the most curable form of leukemia, is not with the team. However, head coach Lovie Smith made sure Metchie still impacts this squad.
When the Texans gathered to start camp, instead of addressing the team himself, head coach Smith had the 22-year-old former University of Alabama standout do so. Metchie talked to his teammates and coaches via video about the cancer battle he's facing.
"He talked to the team. It was good to see that he's in good hands," Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "He's doing well. He's fighting, and we're fighting for him, and he's still pushing for us, and that's our teammate. It felt good just to see him with smiles and confident and uplifted. You know, we are going to be here every step of the way with him."
"Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with him," Texans receiver Brandin Cooks said. "The first time you meet him, his spirit is just so amazing. His positivity going through all this, I'm like, man, a lot of respect to you in that he's just built differently. No doubt in our minds he's going to get through this, and we'll be with him every step of the way and just a lot of love for him. Just can't wait for him to be able to recover."
"Fortunately, we're blessed to have some of the best doctors and the best hospitals in Houston, so he's been under great care," Texans general manager Nick Caserio said. "Our medical staff, specifically with the Texans, our trainers, our medical staff, Dr. James Muntz did an unbelievable job of assisting him when he was actually not in Houston. He was outside of Houston when this was discovered. He's in good spirits, he's kind of taking it one day at a time, so there's no timetable. We're trying to keep him engaged, trying to keep him involved, but the most important thing is his health and his well-being. This is not about football. It's just about him recovering and him being able to lead a good life, and then we'll see where we end up here at some point."
The Texans traded up in the second round during the 2022 NFL Draft, sending three picks to the Cleveland Browns, to select Metchie as the 44th pick overall.