It was just the first preseason game for the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, but for one player it was the culmination of a long journey to return to football. For three seasons offensive lineman David Quessenberry sat out while fighting Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Thursday was the first time he suited up again for a game.
Quessenberry, 26, hadn’t been on the field since the preseason finale of the 2013 season. He broke his foot in a practice just a couple weeks later and spent the remainder of his rookie season on injured reserve.
But it was his cancer diagnosis in June 2014 that turned his life into a three-year battle. Quessenberry went in and out of chemotherapy treatments before he finished his final treatment in April 2017.
Now, he’s back with the Texans and appreciating his chance to continue to play in the NFL.
Quessenberry entered the game Thursday in the second quarter and played for much of the second half.
The Texans lost the game to the Panthers, 27-17, but preseason results don’t carry much weight. Instead, the story after the game was Quessenberry’s inspiring return.
“It's just incredible that he just played in an NFL football game,” Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. “All that he's been through. How special he is to this organization. To be able to go out there and play in an NFL game, that's a pretty big deal.”
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt also had plenty to say about Quessenberry. He posted a lengthy message on Instagram and spoke to the media about the offensive lineman.
Quessenberry has his work cut out for him if he hopes to make the final, 53-man roster. He’s currently listed as the backup left guard for the team, but his versatility and ability to play tackle should help his case.
But if there’s one thing the last three years have proved, it’s that you shouldn’t bet against Quessenberry.