In the Houston Texans home opener against the Indianapolis Colts, WR John Metchie III was back in action for the first time in 635 days. Metchie, who underwent treatment for leukemia last year, had his family in the stands cheering for him in his long-awaited return to playing football.
"A great feeling," Metchie said. "That was probably one of the biggest things about the day for me, my family being able to be here and see me play. I know it's probably a bigger moment to them than it is for me to see me back on the field. So I'm glad that they were able to fly down here and see that and just not to be satisfied with just like coming back, but strive to be the best and coming back. And that was kind of my mindset that got me through that period of time and not just wanting to make it out, but I wanted to thrive. I wanted to thrive, not just survive."
Coming out of Alabama, Metchie was working his way back after tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 21, 2021. Heading into training camp last year, the 2022 second-round draft pick received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, causing him to miss his entire rookie campaign season.
After being cleared to return, Metchie worked his way back to football shape. Days before the Texans second game, Metchie found out from WR Coach Ben McDaniels that he would be active against the Colts.
"They definitely wanted me to get my feet wet and work my way in there, but definitely just got to show up to work and continue to show up so I can contribute to this team in a meaningful way and help us win," Metchie said.
Late in the fourth quarter, Metchie caught a 17-yard pass from C.J. Stroud on third-and-10. In the Texans 31-20 loss, the second-year wide receiver played about 14 snaps on offense in his NFL debut.
"It was awesome to see him out there playing and he wants to be great," Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said. "That's the one thing I love about Metchie. He just doesn't want to just be a normal NFL receiver. He wants to be great at his job and he works that way. So it was very encouraging to see him out there, seeing him get some opportunities and we'll start to see that more. Very pleased with him and encouraged to see him out there."
Metchie and the Texans head to Jacksonville next Sunday to face the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field.