Lineman David Quessenberry joined the Houston Texans for practice on Tuesday after spending nearly three years away from the game of football while undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma.
“When I finished my intensive treatment I felt like the furthest thing from a football player – no hair, skinny – but your body is an amazing thing,” Quessenberry, 26, told The Houston Chronicle. “We just took it slowly. We just did one workout at a time, one treatment at a time and eventually here we are.”
In April, Quessenberry shared a video of his ceremonial ringing of the “chemo bell” to signify the end of his treatment. More than 33,000 people watched him ring the bell so hard that it actually broke off the wall.
“Cancer did NOT make me strong. Cancer did NOT make my family strong. Cancer did NOT galvanize my community. Cancer did NOT bring rival team Head Coaches and players together to support me,” Quessenberry posted in part alongside the moving video. “Cancer did NOT bring people together. Cancer did NOT make people travel hundreds of miles to help me and my family in our time of need. Cancer did NOT make people pray for me. Cancer did NOT bring me my Angel. Cancer did NOT make me thankful for my life. Cancer did NOT make me a believer that there is more to this world than just our eyes can see. Cancer did NOT shape me in the man I am today. Love did.”
Quessenberry was waived by the Texas after the 2015 season but was put on the non-football illness list and remained on the team’s roster. He said Texans coach Bill O’Brien and the entire organization have supported him since the day he was diagnosed. O’Brien, he said, offered him wisdom throughout his treatments, which he said have made him mentally and physically stronger than ever. He’s now focused on regaining the weight and strength so he can compete for a spot on the roster.
“We’re in uncharted territory,” Quessenberry told The Houston Chronicle. “But I feel great and it will be very soon where I can play.”
The Texans shared a photo of Quessenberry in his practice gear on Twitter Tuesday, which he retweeted with the caption, “It’s so much more to me than just OTAs. THANK YOU!!!!!”
Quessenberry was drafted by the Texas in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft.