Wide receiver John Metchie III made his highly-anticipated return to football at the start of Houston Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity. Last July, Metchie was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia and announced that he would miss the entirety of his 2022 rookie campaign.
The second-year wide receiver made his camp debut on Wednesday, just over a year after his diagnosis.
"He's cleared to participate here in training camp," General Manager Nick Caserio said. "I think there will be some players where we kind of manage them, maybe during the course of practice or how we practice. But John is ready to go. I know he had a little bit of a setback there in the spring. He's cleared. He's ready to practice. So kind of take him one day at a time. I'm sure he's anxious and excited to be back out on the field."
Metchie, selected in the second round (44th overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft, participated on offense and special teams drills during practice and caught a pass during 7-on-7s.
Drafted just a few slots ahead with the 37th overall pick last year, Jalen Pitre had a front-row seat to Metchie's road to recovery and return. The Texans safety was visibly enthusiastic about seeing Metchie practice.
"It's really inspiring seeing him fight back and do everything that he's been doing," Pitre said. "He's a guy that I want on my team. I know there's no quit in a guy like that. He's continuing to show up and continuing to fight. That's big for me and inspiring."
Despite being on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list while he underwent cancer treatment last year, Metchie still attended Texans games when he could and frequently visited the team facility. Players gravitated towards Metchie whenever he was in the locker room.
"It just speaks to John's mental and physical toughness, the way he's wired," Caserio said. "I'd say he's a pretty unique person. There are not many people like John Metchie in this world, athletes that have had to endure some of the things he's had to go through. But it speaks to his perseverance, stick-to-it-tiveness, what he is made of, the people around him. I would say our medical staff has invested a lot of time and energy. Think he's appreciative of that. That relationship is reciprocal. Been beneficial to both parties. Excited about John. Excited about all of our players really getting out there and kind of getting started."
The Texans will open the 2023 regular season against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 10.