One year ago, David Quessenberry was battling through chemotherapy.
Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June of 2014, the offensive lineman was in the early stages of a fight against the disease that he conquered in February of this year. It wiped out any chance of him playing football in his second NFL season, but the lymphoma did nothing to diminish his spirit.
Now, Quessenberry is officially listed on the active/non-football illness list, which means he can't practice or play with his teammates. But he's just a field away, during training camp, working with the team's medical and strength & conditioning staffs.
"I'm running," Quessenberry said on Wednesday. "I'm running a lot. There's only one way to get back in shape, and that's to put in the work."
The third-year pro lost more than 50 pounds off his frame beause of the treatment. Slowly and steadily, he's working to get back to his 305-pound playing weight.
"There's no shortcuts when you're trying to come back," Quessenberry said. "You just have to put in the time, and put in the hours in the weight room and out here on the field, and just build up to get back."
Defensive end J.J. Watt has termed Quessenberry's return as "incredible", and points to the young Texan as "an inspiration". Bill O'Brien, who calls Quessenberry one of the "toughest" people he's ever encountered, always notes the lineman's story is one to appreciate.
"I don't think we make a big enough deal about that," the head coach said on August 7. "That guy, to think what he's come back from, he had a really tough bout with cancer and look he's still fighting it. He's fighting it, but what an incredible story to just be out here."
Head strength coach Craig Fitzgerald has helped Quessenberry fight to get back into playing shape. While no specific day has been pinpointed as the day he gets back on the active roster, the lineman knows his return to form is on the horizon.
"I'm being realistic," Quessenberry said. "The timeline right now is to just keep doing what I am doing to get the strength and stamina back. We work out so hard to get back. One thing is, I'll go all day out here doing it. It's just a matter of getting back to where I need to be to compete out here."
On August 14, 2014, the City of Houston issued a proclamation that the day was 'Texans for DQ Day'. The #DQStrong hashtag was all over social media, and special t-shirts that Texans players, coaches, business staff and fans wore proudly.
Just over a year later, Quessenberry is much stronger than he was last August, with the smile still on his face and the determined attitude propelling him towards an eventual return to the field.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 7/29/2021)