At J.J. Watt's charity softball game a couple of weeks ago, while the focus was primarily on raising money and crushing softballs, there were a small handful of health-related takeaways that a logically thinking Houston Texans fan could take into the preseason.
Jadeveon Clowney, who has endured far more unhealthy days as a Texan than he's enjoyed healthy ones, was running around full speed with no problems. Duane Brown, who is coming off a quad tear from the end of last season, needed a full-time punch runner. J.J. Watt, The Man himself, appeared to be moving around with no hint of hindrance from his season-ending groin tear.
Then there was David Quessenberry, the soon-to-be fourth-year offensive lineman whose Texans career has been more star-crossed than that of any of the aforementioned players. None of those players have fought for their actual, literal existence over the past three years. Quessenberry? Well, he beat cancer. He got the great news last year before the 2015 season that his cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosed in 2014, was in remission.
At the Watt softball game, it was quite evident that Quessenberry had been working to add back the bulk and strength of which the cancer had robbed him over the past two years. To the semi-educated football eye, he appeared to be back at or near his playing weight.
However, if David Quessenberry is going to play football in 2016, it won't be for the Houston Texans — the team waived him on Tuesday morning. The move was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
The #Texans waived OL David Quessenberry with the Non-Football injury designation, source said. He has battled cancer.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 31, 2016
One key thing to understand about this move is that the Texans have placed a "non-football injury designation" on the transaction. This is likely a prelude to Quessenberry's being placed on the non-football injury list, assuming he clears waivers, which would allow the Texans to keep him as part of the organization.
Quessenberry has spent the past two seasons on the non-football illness list as he's undergone intense chemotherapy and radiation treatments, procedures that drove his weight down well below his playing weight of around 300 pounds. With the cancer in remission, he no longer requires the radiation treatments, but does undergo maintenance rounds of chemotherapy once a month.
Quessenberry was a sixth-round pick back in 2013 out of San Jose State and had flashed well in his rookie preseason before ending up on injured reserve. The next season, Bill O'Brien's first as Texans head coach, Quessenberry was competing for a starting job in OTAs when a mass was found in his lungs in June 2014, a symptom of what ended up being the lymphoma.
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Quessenberry was hoping to return last season, but the coaches didn't see him as being ready, which led to a heartbreaking scene in Hard Knocks in which O'Brien broke that news to the young offensive lineman.
So we now wait to see if Quessenberry returns to the Texans in some capacity, either as a tabled player (again) or perhaps in some other capacity if he and the team feel his playing career is over.
(NOTE: In the least important part of this story, my way too early 53-man roster prediction is already wrong.)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.