Houston Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry has been selected as the 2017 George Halas Award winner after overcoming a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.
After completing chemotherapy in April, Quessenberry returned to the field for the Texans’ OTA sessions for the first time since his 2014 diagnosis.
“Can’t say enough about that guy,” O’Brien said after Quessenberry's first practice. “I mean, to come back from what he’s come back from and to be out here playing football. I mean, I’d go so far as to say that might be unprecedented.”
Quessenberry said it felt amazing to be back on the field with his teammates.
“It’s been a long fight. I’m just blessed to be able to put that behind me and get back to playing football,” he said. It’s like, I wake up and my hands are sore, my neck is sore, my legs are tired and achy and out here sweating the sun and loving every minute of it, every feeling of it, lining up and seeing whoever it is – J.J. (Watt), (Jadeveon) Clowney across. Just being like, ‘This is what you’ve always prayed for. You prayed that you could always come back to this point and now it’s here.’ It’s a blessing for sure. I’m loving it.”
Quessenberry said he’s grateful to be an inspiration to others going through a similar fight.
“When I was going through my fight, you kind of look for people who have overcome it and have gone on to do great things,” he said. “If I can be that for somebody else, I’m happy to be that person. Lucky to be that person.”
Quessenberry was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of San Jose State by the Texans, and he missed the entire 2013 season with a foot injury.
In June 2014, Quessenberry experienced fatigue and a persistent cough during workouts, and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He spent the 2014-16 seasons on the Texans’ non-football illness list while battling the disease.
Back in April, a bell signifying the completion of his chemotherapy treatments was no match for the burly offensive lineman.
Quessenberry posted a video to Instagram of the moment in which he rang the bell that quickly broke from the wall. Quessenberry quickly apologizes to nurses for the mishap, while his family and friends couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.
cancer did NOT make me strong. cancer did NOT make my family strong. cancer did NOT galvanize my community. cancer did NOT bring rival team Head Coaches and players together to support me. cancer did NOT bring people together. cancer did NOT make people travel hundreds of miles to help me and my family in our time of need. cancer did NOT make people pray for me. cancer did NOT bring me my Angel. cancer did NOT make me thankful for my life. cancer did NOT make me a believer that there is more to this world than just our eyes can see. cancer did NOT shape me into the man I am today. Love did. It has Been more than 1000 days since my fight began. Yesterday I received my last infusion of chemo therapy. The things I have seen and the things I felt through my fight I could never forget and last night after a full day at MD Anderson I watched a video that @meeeglit put together for me. It was filled with short clips of the people I hold most dear to me that lasted for more than an hour and every second of It was absolutely incredible. I don't know what to say to every one other than Thank You, I Love you, and I will never forget you and the kindness and Love you showed me. -DQ "Love backed by Faith is unstoppable" P.S. this bell just like cancer never stood a chance...
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The Halas Award is one of the two-oldest awards presented by the Professional Football Writers of America, along with the Dick McCann Award, presented to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage.
The award is named for Halas, a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter. Halas won 324 games and six NFL titles in 40 seasons as a coach.
Other 2017 nominees for the Halas Award were New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta and Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake.