Texans WR John Metchie III relied on faith during cancer fight

HOUSTON -- A year after John Metchie III was diagnosed with leukemia, the Houston Texans' wide receiver says he relied on his faith to get through the battle.

"Especially for my kind of leukemia, which is one of the most curable forms of cancer, but very tough at the beginning," Metchie said. "I was blessed and very grateful to have one of the most curable forms of cancer. As y'all see, I didn't lose my hair and a lot of stuff like that. So, I was very grateful. I'm very blessed for that. But at the very beginning of it, when you're diagnosed, a very tough part, it's the most critical part. You can only rely on your faith in those situations when you're faced with your own mortality."

Metchie, the Texans' 2022 second-round draft pick out of Alabama, missed his rookie year after the Texans placed him on the non-football illness list. In the early steps, he thought he might not play football again.

"I feel like at the beginning stages, of course, you don't know what's going to happen or what the future has in store for you," Metchie said. "Of course, hope that you can overcome it and play football, but I will probably say the beginning stages. There might have been some doubt."

Metchie says the journey was "challenging," but he's happy to be back.

"Just gratitude. I think that's pretty much what the whole moment was like, just gratitude. I was really grateful," Metchie said. "That day that I was just able to come here and start playing the game I love again."

The Texans' first preseason game is Aug. 10 against the New England Patriots, which will be Metchie's first time playing in a football game since he tore his ACL on Dec. 4, 2021, in the SEC championship game against Georgia.

Texans coach DeMeco Ryans hopes Metchie will contribute to the passing game.

"He has tremendous work ethic, and he's working to get back," Ryans said. "And when it comes time to the season, whenever it is, we want him to be his best. Whatever it is, whatever role it is for our team, hopefully, he can help us win games."

And even though Metchie hasn't played in almost two years, he has opportunities to become a vital member of the Texans' receiver corps. Based on the 2022 production, the receiver group ranked 26th in receptions (176), 28th in receiver yards (2,154), and 28th in touchdowns (9).

Regardless of Metchie's production on the field, his teammates are grateful to have him back.

"It's really inspiring seeing him fight back and do everything that he's been doing. He's a guy that I want on my team because I know there's no quit in a guy like that," Texans safety Jalen Pitre said. "He's continuing to show up and continuing to fight. That's big for me, and it's very inspiring."