HOUSTON – Houston Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry was asked if he's daydreamed about playing in this first NFL game as time has gone by -- nearly five years since he was drafted by the Texans.
He responded with five words.
"Yeah, every day. Every day," he said.
Quessenberry was a sixth-round pick by the Texans in the 2013 draft, and he made the team out of training camp and was set for his NFL debut in week one that season.
But he hurt his foot in practice before the opener and went on injured reserve, wiping out his rookie season.
Bill O'Brien became head coach of the team in 2014 and before Quessenberry could play his first game of that season under O'Brien, he was diagnosed with a cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma. While seasons were wiped out, Quessenberry beat the cancer and returned to the team.
After being waived prior to this season's opener, he was re-signed to the team's practice squad, where he's been all season. Until this week, when he was signed to the active roster.
"Since I got drafted in 2013, it’s kind of been one thing after the other preventing me to get onto the field," Quessenberry said. "I think finally now all that’s passed and I’m ready to get on with my football plan.”
His football plan never included a bout with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but after beating that, getting back on the field remained the goal.
"The way that the team has supported me has been awesome, but the way that they’ve treated me now has been fair and now we’re ready to play," he said.
O'Brien made it clear that this is no gift roster spot, but rather he's earned it. And Quessenberry will play on Christmas Day against the Steelers in front of the home crowd on fan appreciation day.
"To overcome what he’s overcome, to be able to step back onto the field in an NFL football game, is an incredible accomplishment for him," O'Brien said. "And I know for him, he’s such a driven guy, he really wants to go out there and play well. He doesn’t want to just show up and (say) ‘Yeah, thank you.’ This isn’t a pat on the back."
"I’m excited just to cut it loose and just play ball and just be like a normal player. I’m in the game plan. I’m really excited to suit up and play on Monday night,” Quessenberry said.