Texans' Metchie III diagnosed with leukemia, expects to miss rookie season

Texans rookie wide receiver John Metchie III has been diagnosed with leukemia and he expects to miss his rookie season while focusing on his treatment and recovery.

Metchie made the announcement in a statement Sunday through the Texans.

"Recently, I was diagnosed with APL (Acute Promelocytic Leukemia), the most curable form of Leukemia," Metchie said. "I am currently receiving great medical care, am in good spirits and I expect to make a recovery at a later point in time. As a result of this diagnosis, I will likely not be playing football this season. My main focus will be on my health and recovery. Thank you in advance for your support and well-wishes. I cannot wait to come back stronger than ever. God bless."

Metchie, prior to receiving this serious medical prognosis, had been recovering well and making progress from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during his final season at Alabama during the Southeastern Conference championship game.

He hadn't been cleared yet for football activities, but football now will take a back seat to his personal health situation.

“I talked about us initially just taking everybody through a certain amount of tests to see exactly where they are," Texans head coach Lovie Smith said this spring. "We’re in the process of seeing exactly when John would be ready to go. Eventually, he will be ready to go. There’s a lot that he can do before that. He’s not 100% yet, but in time he will be.

"I don’t have that timetable set yet, but in the upcoming weeks, we’ll be able to tell that a little bit more. For us, he is going to play this year. It’s all, as much as anything, about the mental preparation, them catching up, getting in the playbook. You’d be surprised the amount of things we ask of young people and what they have to get down.”

Drafted in the second round with the 44th overall selection after trading a third-round and two fourth-round picks, Metchie had previously emphasized he will be ready and fully ready for all activities for training camp.

"As far as the recovery, I will be good to play football in July. I will be good to go, no training wheels," Metchie said during the draft. "I have been running already for the last couple months. Cutting, jumping, doing all those types of things. When I say I will be ready to go in July, it's full-go football."

Metchie was a projected first-round draft pick prior to the injury. He caught 96 passes for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

"It's an honor," Metchie said of becoming the latest Alabama wide receiver to be drafted. "It's the standard for Alabama football. It's an honor to finally become one of the guys."

After maneuvering to draft Metchie, Texans general manager Nick Caserio praised him heavily. Caserio also downplayed his timetable for getting on the field and being fully cleared to play.

"His story is probably as unique as anybody in the draft, very worldly. I mean, this kid is an awesome kid, very smart, very studious, tough as nails," Caserio said. "Some of the things that he did at Alabama and some of the things he endured and played with, just no normal people would do it. This guy's level of toughness is exceptional. He was a really, really productive player for them and has some position versatility. I know there's questions. When is he going to be ready? When is he going to be available?

"I wouldn't put too much stock in what he said. I think when he is ready, he is ready. Whenever that is, it is. We're not going to rush or push him. When he is ready and physically able, we feel that it's the right thing to do, then he will be on the field. Until then he will do everything he can to get himself to that point. I certainly wouldn't put any timetable on it or any expectation on it. When he is ready, he will be ready, but another player that I would say we like probably as much as any football player in the draft. When you watch him play, he plays a receiver with a mindset mentality that I would say is a little bit different."

A former four-star recruit, Metchie was cleared to play football after being diagnosed with a slightly enlarged heart in high school.

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and analyst and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama

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