Houston Texans’ Canadian draft pick John Metchie III diagnosed with leukemia, ‘likely’ to miss entire NFL rookie season

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Canadian receiver John Metchie III will not be able to take part in his rookie season with the Houston Texans after being diagnosed with cancer.

The Brampton, Ontario native announced the heart-wrenching news with a statement on the team’s Twitter account Sunday, sharing that his prognosis is positive.

“Recently I was diagnosed with APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia), the most curable form of Leukemia. I am currently receiving great medical care, am in good spirits and I expect to make a recovery at a later point in time. As a result of this diagnosis, I will likely not be playing football this season. My main focus will be on my health and recovery. Thank you in advance for your support and well-wishes. I cannot wait to COME back stronger than ever. God bless.”

The Texans drafted Metchie in the second round, 44th overall, of the 2022 NFL Draft after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Alabama and signed him to a four-year deal worth over $8 million. He was expected to start this season in a paper-thin Texans receiving corps.

Metchie III first burst onto the NCAA scene in 2020 as a key component of an Alabama receiving group that featured two first-round picks, including Heisman winner DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. The six-foot, 195-pound Canuck caught 55 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore, becoming the first Canadian in 17 years to win an NCAA national title.

Projected by many as a first-round pick entering the 2021 season, Metchie started 13 games for the Crimson Tide as a true junior and earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honours. He recorded a team-high 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns, before suffering a torn ACL in his knee during the SEC Championship game and seeing his stock fall.

The two-time winner of the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian player in the NCAA was expected to be medically cleared in time for training camp but now faces a far more gruelling recovery.

His older brother Royce Metchie, the starting safety for the Toronto Argonauts, was scheduled to play the Saskatchewan Roughriders this evening but has been absent from the team since Wednesday due to personal reasons.