Return to football now real for David Quessenberry


For three years, David Quessenberry fought cancer.

Now when he lines up on the field, he has to see two of the best defensive players in football, a very different challenge.

The Texans offensive lineman told Peter King of that a recent glance across the line at teammates J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney was a quick realization his comeback is taking another step.

“There’s 99 [Watt] and 90 [Clowney],” Quessenberry said. “We’re just in a jog through. But I’m thinking: I got butterflies right now! I haven’t felt this excited about a play in years. But then: ‘Okay man, this is where you’re at, you’re back. You’re not trying to maintenance chemo, you’re not just working out. You are staring across at a couple of the best players in the league. Time to play football.’”

Quessenberry lost 50 pounds during his treatment, and hasn’t practiced since 2013, when the sixth-round pick suffered a foot injury and spent the year on injured reserve. So it would be a mistake to say the routine of May practice was routine for him.

“It’s hard to put into words,” he said. “If I could describe it, I’d say first, my prayers were answered. It was so spiritual the first day back. Getting taped up, my helmet hanging in my locker, the jersey there, trainers hollering at me, riding me, teammates hollering at me, they wanted to see my back, putting my cleats on . . . all of it just special, just very very special. Because I could just feel how much everybody else on this journey with me wanted me to get back out there. My teammates never forgot me, never let me just drift away. That made this week even better.

“I woke up every day this week, and my neck was sore, fingers banged up, legs are tired and achy, I was having to drink so much water and Gatorade, sweating in the Texas sun … loving every minute of it. Really, I almost forgot how much I love this feeling, the bruises on arms, the sore shins, that sting you feel when you make a block. I missed it so much.”

Whether Quessenberry’s football comeback lasts beyond training camp will depend on his ability to block players like Watt and Clowney. But getting this far is already a win.

6 responses to “Return to football now real for David Quessenberry

  1. Best story in the league and one of the best names. Got to root for the guy. Congrats, David Quessenberry, and props to Houston for supporting him and his comeback (I also remember them giving him a job in the organization after his diagnosis, might have been ceremonial, but still cool).

    And rageviral, I get that he’s not one of the very, very best, but if you can name 19 better players than Clowney, you’re delusional.

  2. Good luck to the guy. It’s going to be tough making the team after all he’s been through, but I hope he does it. Even if he doesn’t, he’s already won more than any player can on the field.

  3. Feel good story will be better if he comes through and makes final cut. Best of luck.

  4. He could teach a few other players in the league a lesson in appreciation and thankfulness for getting to do something you truly love to make your living.

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