Andre Hal returns to practice after cancer treatment

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans safety Andre Hal practiced Wednesday, less than a month after he announced that his Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission.

Hal has been on the non-football illness list since the team announced his cancer diagnosis in June. The Texans now have 21 days to add him to the active roster or he will stay on the list and will not be able to play again this year.

"We activated the 21-day window on him, so he'll be able to practice with the team," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said. "At any point in time over the 21-day window we can decide to activate him to the 53-man roster, so we'll see where he's at and go from there. That's great news for [Hal] and for us."

Hal was diagnosed after he came off the field from practice with blurry vision during OTAs. The doctors soon found lymphoma in his armpit and abdomen. Because he wanted a less harsh treatment on his body so he could have a chance to play this season, Hal elected not to do chemotherapy, but instead tried a treatment plan involving a drug being administered via IV that his doctor told him would give him a good prognosis to beat the disease. On Sept. 18, the doctors told Hal that he was in remission.

"He worked very hard," O'Brien said. "Did a really good job. He was in all the meetings, let alone the weight room work and the field work. He really stayed on top of the X's and O's.

"He's that type of guy. He's a great teammate. He's a tremendous guy."

Hal has spent all five of his NFL seasons with the Texans. He signed a three-year contract with Houston in August 2017 and played in all 16 games for Houston last season. The Texans have safeties Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Jackson and Justin Reid on the roster, but Hal said he's not worried about where he will play if he is added to the active roster in the next three weeks.

"I knew I was going to play [again]," Hal said. "I just didn't know when. That's why I never stopped coming. I never stopped coming to practice, I never stopped working out. I just had a feeling that I was going to play again."