Sean Pendergast

Texans WR John Metchie III Named 2024 George Halas Award Winner

John Metchie III won the George Halas Award for perseverance through adversity.
John Metchie III won the George Halas Award for perseverance through adversity. Photo by Eric Sauseda
When you trade up 24 spots into the second round of the NFL Draft to select a player with the 44th overall pick, the assumption is that you have major plans for that player. That's precisely the route the Houston Texans took in the 2022 draft in their selection of Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III, a dynamic pass catcher in college, who had performed on numerous big stages in his collegiate career.

Sometimes those plans get derailed, either because of injury or underperformance. Frighteningly, in the case of Metchie, his plans and the Texans plans were derailed early, in May 2022, when Metchie was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. In plain English, a form of cancer. Cancer treatment forced Metchie to miss all of the 2022 season.

However, Metchie returned in 2023, and while he wasn't in peak form for most of the season, his mere presence on the field was a shining example of grit and perseverance. As a result, Metchie, on Tuesday, was named the 2024 recipient of the prestigious George Halas Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America.

The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who "overcomes the most adversity to succeed." The award is named after Hall of Famer Halas, who impacted the league as an owner, manager, player and promoter, in his 63 seasons associated with the NFL. Halas won 324 games and six NFL titles in 40 seasons as a coach.

Metchie is the 56th winner of the award, and the second Houston Texan to win the award, joining David Quessenberry (2017), who, similar to Metchie, came back from missing multiple seasons while being treated for cancer.

Metchie was reinstated to the Texans’ active roster on February 15, 2023, and made his NFL debut in Week 2 at home against the Colts last season. He played in 16 games for the Texans with 16 receptions for 158 yards during the 2023 season. Metchie will be in a battle for a spot as the 4th or 5th wide receiver with the team this season, along with Robert Woods, Noah Brown, and Ben Skowronek.

Here is the complete list of previous George Halas Award winners:

1969 – Joe Namath (New York Jets)
1970 – Gale Sayers (Chicago Bears)
1971 – Tom Dempsey (New Orleans Saints)
1972 – Jimmy Johnson (San Francisco 49ers)
1973 - Mike Tilleman (Atlanta Falcons)
1974 – Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears)
1975 – Rocky Bleier (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1976 – Billy Kilmer (Washington Redskins)
1977 – Tom DeLeone (Cleveland Browns)
1978 – Pat Fischer (Washington Redskins)
1979 – Bert Jones (Baltimore Colts)
1980 – Roger Staubach (Dallas Cowboys)
1981 – Rolf Benirschke (San Diego Chargers)
1982 – Joe Klecko (New York Jets)
1983 – Eddie Lee Ivery (Green Bay Packers)
1984 – Ted Hendricks (Los Angeles Raiders)
1985 – John Stallworth (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1986 – Gary Jeter (Los Angeles Rams)
1987 – William Andrews (Atlanta Falcons)
1988 – Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers)
1989 – Karl Nelson (New York Giants)
1990 – Tim Krumrie (Cincinnati Bengals)
1991 – Dan Hampton (Chicago Bears)
1992 – Mike Utley (Detroit Lions)
1993 – Mark Bavaro (Cleveland Browns)
1994 – Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers)
1995 – Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins)
1996 – Larry Brown (Oakland Raiders)
1997 – Jim Harbaugh (Indianapolis Colts)
1998 – Mark Schlereth (Denver Broncos)
1999 – Dan Reeves (Atlanta Falcons)
2000 – Bryant Young (San Francisco 49ers)
2001 – Kerry Collins (New York Giants)
2002 – Garrison Hearst (San Francisco 49ers)
2003 – Robert Edwards (Miami Dolphins)
2004 – Sam Mills (Carolina Panthers)
2005 – Mark Fields (Carolina Panthers)
2006 – Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts)
2007 – Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
2008 – Kevin Everett (Buffalo Bills)
2009 – Matt Bryant (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
2010 – Mike Zimmer (Cincinnati Bengals)
2011 – Mike Heimerdinger (Tennessee Titans)
2012 – Robert Kraft (New England Patriots)
2013 – Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts)
2014 – O.J. Brigance (Baltimore Ravens)
2015 – Steve Gleason (New Orleans Saints)
2016 – Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs)
2017 – David Quessenberry (Houston Texans)
2018 – Marquise Goodwin (San Francisco 49ers)
2019 – Ryan Shazier (Pittsburgh Steelers)
2020 – Travis Frederick (Dallas Cowboys)
2021 – Alex Smith (Washington Football Team)
2022 – Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team)
2023 – Damar Hamlin (Buffalo Bills)
2024 – John Metchie III (Houston Texans)

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast