As training camp kicks off for Houston, approximately 90 players will look to either get themselves back into game shape and/or attempt to impress the organization enough to warrant a roster spot when the season kicks off in Baltimore on Sept 10. Among those players, 13 WRs are sporting Houston Texans’ jerseys as camp opens. Included in those 13 players is one John Metchie III, formerly of Alabama.
That a second round pick from 2022 is starting training camp in 2023 is usually not headline grabbing news. Yet, for Metchie, this is his first actual training camp. When the Texans drafted him in the second round, actually trading up to acquire his services, Metchie was recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Alabama’s 2021 SEC Championship win over Georgia. Yet, that would not be what kept him off the field last season. No sooner did the Texans draft him, expecting Metchie to miss some time due to the ACL rehab, than Metchie received a diagnosis that he had acute promyelocytic leukemia. Thus, instead of rehabbing to get into game shape, his efforts went to thwarting the effects of cancer.
The recovery from the leukemia progressed sufficiently enough for Metchie to fully participate in the spring off-season activities. Unfortunately, his participation ended with a hamstring injury, but that has not lingered. As of today, Houston GM Nick Caserio reported that Metchie was cleared for camp activities. As Caserio relayed to the media:
He’s cleared to participate in our training camp. It figures there will be some players where we kind of manage them during the course of practice,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio told reporters Monday. “But John’s ready to go. I know he had a little bit of a setback there in the spring, but he’s cleared. He’s ready to practice, so we’re going to take it one day at a time. I’m sure he’s anxious and excited just to be back on the field.”
Certainly the Texans medical staff will monitor Metchie carefully, given the myriad of health issues. Yet, Metchie will also have quite the opportunity for professional advancement. Few position on the Texans’ roster are as unsettled and uncertain as WR. Between the addition of the injury-prone veteran Robert Woods, the current crop of returning WRs who only tally 50 returning receptions between them and the addition of unproven talent like Tank Dell, a prospect like Metchie will get plenty of chances to demonstrate his abilities.
It remains to be seen if Metchie can demonstrate the full range of talent that he showed off at Alabama. While the squad does possess perhaps the best passer since peak Watson and some talent at RB and Offensive line, the WRs will have a lot of prove. Still, for Metchie, given all he has overcome just in the past year, to say nothing of his biography, the prospect of moving up the depth chart hardly seems daunting. I wouldn’t bet against him.
Looking forward to seeing how all of the WRs look as camp gets underway and how the new Texans’ regime molds their roster. Certainly most Texans fans will pull for the WRs, for if they exceed expectations, the team will also likely exceed expectations. Still, of all the WRs, this author is going to be pulling for Metchie. The guy is already a proven winner off the field, and if Metchie can recapture some of the performance pre-ACL tear, he might just be a pleasant surprise for the 2023 Texans.