No matter how long you've been alive or how long you live, there's little chance that you haven't experienced or won't experience cancer, in some way, shape or form. Everyone you know has a story or has lived it.
My grandmother died due to cancer and one of my best friends was diagnosed with testicular cancer six weeks before graduating high school. That one struck all of us "thought-to-be" indestructible 18-year olds getting ready to go dominate the world in college. We can remember details of hearing about it so vividly, not that it's any memory that we want for the rest of our lives.
Walking over the bridge to Tuesday's OTA workout was when I found out that David Quessenberry had lymphoma. I erroneously read the tweet from Marc Vandermeer as pneumonia the first time I read it.
That was bad enough as my mind raced as to when he could return. But, reading it again, the word "lymphoma" hit like a ton of bricks. Q is so highly respected in this organization and he's a guy the fans have wanted to see on the field since he made a splash in last year's pre-season contests. There really are no words to express the anger, the sadness and the gut punch feeling we all had hearing that news on Tuesday.
The "life" side of this says nothing is more important than one's health and it does give us a perspective jolt, yet football, and more importantly, his football family will be David's drug of choice to beat lymphoma, as he aptly stated in his twitter account yesterday when the news went public.
The team will need some time to truly internalize David's plight and it's understandable if the team struggled through workouts with David on their minds. But on Tuesday, the team's focus was laser tight as many of them had gone to see David at M.D. Anderson and got assurances that he had the best care in the world, essentially, and would eventually come out of this strong and healthy.
The football side, though, is tricky in David's absence. Without the guy that was thought, at worst, to be the team's swing tackle and, at best, to start at one of the offensive line positions, the Texans are left with little in the way of tackle options.
Brennan Williams is still recuperating from microfracture surgery and has played fewer than ten games in two calendar years. Xavier Su'a-Filo, thought to be a strong candidate to take over at guard, has the versatility to play both guard and tackle, but missing ten days of offensive installation eliminates the option of learning both positions.
So, the tackle depth chart, as it sits right now behind Duane Brown and Derek Newton, consists of nothing but undrafted rookie free agents. After watching Newton closely in OTA, I see a different player than in 2013, much different. But, until the pads go on, we won't know for sure whether he's going to emerge from the long shadow cast by such an individually difficult season.
I've mentioned the three tackles that the team signed post-draft. Bryan Witzmann from South Dakota State, Matt Fieler from Bloomsburg and Anthony Dima from UMass, who the Texans signed off of waivers after rookie mini-camp. I wouldn't expect a starter from that group, but I would now expect one of those three guys, at a minimum, to make the 53-man roster, given the upheaval at that position. Yes, the team must sign a veteran but there's not a tackle Walmart out there where you can just pluck a 6-5, 305 lb. man off the shelf for future use. Heck, there's not even an OL Quicky Mart convenience store and that's just an unfortante fact of life; I'd go there to shop every day, but I'm a football goofball.
Anyhow, if timing works in the Texans favor in the slightest, they can sign someone this week, have him in for mandatory mini-camp and give him five weeks to learn the basics of the playbook prior to training camp. That's the good news, slight though it may be, in a day wrought with a ton of bad.
Get well, David.