John Metchie, III may not be at practice, but he still managed to make a big impression at Texans Training Camp earlier this week.
News about the rookie receiver’s Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia diagnosis came out on Sunday, and the Texans began camp a day or so later. When it was time for the first team meeting, Head Coach Lovie Smith deviated from his normal routine.
"I normally start off the first meeting addressing our football team," Smith said. "This year, we let John Metchie do it."
The young pass-catcher, who played his college ball at Alabama before Houston selected him in the second round of this year's NFL Draft, addressed his teammates by video. Smith explained why he had Metchie talk.
"There were a lot of questions on what's going on with his health, so I let him to talk the football team and let them know what he has in store this year and how it would affect our football team," Smith said. "All I can say about that is we have a family member fighting something serious and were going to be there every step of the way with him."
Despite the diagnosis, Metchie was in good spirits in front of his teammates.
"His positivity going through all this, I'm like, man, a lot of respect to you in that he's just built different," Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks said. "No doubt in our mind 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."
General Manager Nick Caserio emphasized the great care Metchie is under medically, and Linebacker Christian Kirksey was happy to see Metchie on the screen.
"He's doing well," Kirksey said. "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."
Caserio and the Texans haven't put a timeline on Metchie's return. But Smith is confident that return will indeed happen.
"Eventually, he will get back out there with our football team and we can't wait for that," Smith said.
The Texans will practice again Saturday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.