The NFL has done a nice job of making sure there are very few dead spots in the offseason calendar. Even when there's no football being played, the NFL season always seems to be in motion.
However, this week and next week are the closest things we will get to a lull between now and post draft minicamps. The combine is over, and the next action item is March 10, when the 2015 league year (and free agency) begins.
So to get a charity appearance from a handful of players with so many juicy news nuggets as today's appearance at Texas Children's Hospital is truly a gift from the football gods!
In case you hadn't heard, several Texans (and one particular soon to be free agent) visited Texas Children's on Wednesday afternoon as part of an announcement that the two parties had entered a seven year agreement for TCH to become the official children's hospital of the Houston Texans. Ryan Mallett, Jeff Tarpinian, Brian Cushing, Chris Myers, Lonnie Ballentine, Ryan Griffin, and David Quessenberry were the players visiting, and the event was punctuated by an appearance from head coach Bill O'Brien.
Here are the most newsworthy items from Wednesday afternoon:
1. David Quessenberry's cancer is in remission, and he's working out. On a day where these Texans were visiting several children suffering from cancer, the one Texan who himself has suffered from cancer in the last 12 months was among those in attendance. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry was there Wednesday and shared the news that his non-Hodgkins lymphoma was in remission. He talked about the day he found out.
"It was a great day," Quessenberry said on Wednesday when he made an appearance with teammates at Texas Children's Hospital. "I'm off radiation. I'm still undergoing chemotherapy once a month as part of my 30-month maintenance, but it's nothing like I went through."
Quessenberry said his weight is up to around 275 to 278 pounds, so there's still a ton of work to do before he can think of getting back onto a football field. Prior to his cancer diagnosis, Quessenberry was running with the first team offensive line with a chance to start in 2014. Those plans were derailed when he was diagnosed with the lymphoma in June last summer. He immediately began treatment, first in his native California, before returning to Houston for the regular season.
"He's an incredible person," O'Brien said. "Imagine the example he'll set for the others when they see how he attacks working out with such enthusiasm. You know, I think he'll come back and play."
2. Ryan Mallett, FREE AGENT TO BE, was in attendance. With so much of the optimism of Texan fans riding on the return of Mallett next season, it was good to see him at a team-sponsored charity event wearing Texans gear when he is scheduled to hit free agency in a couple weeks. Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien have repeatedly said they want to bring Mallett back, and for his part, Mallett has expressed a mutual sentiment on Twitter and, on Wednesday, in person.
"I'd like to come back," Mallett told the Houston Chronicle. "Hopefully, we can get something worked out." Mallett, of course, was picked up by the Texans from the New England Patriots before the start of the 2014 season for a conditional seventh round draft choice. If indeed, he turns out to be an effective long term starter here, it will go down as one of the great steals in the Texans' short history.
"It feels good that you're wanted," Mallett said. "That's better than not being wanted, I can tell you that."
And a couple of nuggets on two former Texans...
3. James Casey is popular. Casey, the former Texans and Rice tight end, was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week when they decided that they didn't want to pay him $4 million for the upcoming season. Casey had been a special teams stalwart for the Eagles, but had played sparingly in the offense, with only six catches over two seasons. Given his varied skill set, Casey won't be out of work long. Interest is high, as he has already had visits to Arizona and Denver, the latter not a surprise at all considering his best season was 2012 under Gary Kubiak. Additionally, he reportedly has visits set for Tennessee and Cleveland.
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4. Jacoby Jones run as a Raven is over. The marriage between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacoby Jones ended on Wednesday afternoon as the Ravens released the eight year wide receiver and Pro Bowl kick returner. Jones had one of the greatest "deal with the devil" runs in recent sports history when, within a matter of months, he did the following:
* Caught a miraculous touchdown to send a playoff game in Denver to overtime * Set an all-time record for all-purpose yards in a Super Bowl * Had one of the great all-time Kimmel show appearances * Finished third on Dancing With The Stars
When you consider that he is largely the same player that was released by the Texans after the 2011 season, it has to be considered one of the greatest outlier runs ever. And the fact that it ended with Jacoby getting cracked with a champagne bottle by a stripper at a teammate's birthday party makes it that much more special.