One week into camp, John Metchie, III is feeling great. Better than great, even.
"I feel 110 percent, actually," Metchie said. "I feel better now than I ever did in college, and I feel better than I was before I got diagnosed."
Rewind a year, and the then-rookie wide receiver's world had been rocked. Almost eight months after a knee injury in Alabama's 2021 SEC title game matchup with Georgia ended his college career, Metchie was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). What had been a long road to recovery, got even longer after the APL diagnosis.
But Metchie's been on the practice field throughout the first week of training camp, and he's thankful.
"Being back on the field feels great," Metchie said. "It definitely feels like a blessing and something you're grateful for every day."
Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said Metchie's return is "an inspiration to me" and "he's uplifting everyone's spirit around here."
But Metchie's also helping raise the level of competition, as well.
"Metchie can bring a dynamic element to our offense," Ryans said. "I think he's a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands."
After practices have wrapped, Metchie's routinely met up afterwards with cornerback and fellow 2022 Draftee Derek Stingley, Jr. and worked on different aspects of his game. And Stingley's. That falls, according to Metchie, into the "iron sharpens iron" category, and Metchie described what they discuss.
"Working on our crafts," Metchie said. "Talking about things that we got each other on in practice. How we can make each other better. How we can help push both of our games forward."
Veteran receiver Robert Woods described Metche as a "big playmaker" and is glad the second-year pro is back on the field.
"Obviously, we've all been waiting to see him make plays and being able to see him run the routes, go against the defense, catching the ball," Woods said. "It's really exciting for us as football fans and us as Houston Texans to see him out there and competing again."
Metchie and the Texans are back on the practice fields at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Friday morning. They'll face the Patriots in their preseason opener next Thursday in New England.