Quessenberry brightens Texans practice

David Quessenberry (No. 77) surprised his teammates with a visit at the end of practice. Houston Texans

HOUSTON -- Shane Lechler and Jon Weeks spotted him first. They jogged toward him, grinning, thrilled at his appearance. David Quessenberry was back, if only for a few moments, with his team.

For the first time since he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, Quessenberry visited the Texans' practice field. And everyone loved it.

"That's a special thing," said Texans coach Bill O'Brien, who greeted Quessenberry shortly after the specialists did. "Twenty-three-year-old guy who's going through that. Very special guy. Impressive guy, how he's dealing with it. ... It was great to see him out there."

Today was the end of a long series of offseason practices. Players will technically have one month off until training camp starts. They'll have time to let their bodies recover but will be expected to stay in shape.

For Quessenberry, though, his focus will be on fighting a deadly illness. He started chemotherapy two weeks ago.

O'Brien said Quessenberry's white blood cell count was at the right level, so doctors allowed the visit. As practice ended, sealed with a wobbly punt by a kicker and a comical catch by goofy guard Ben Jones, the team rushed toward Jones in a roar of delight. They then circled around Quessenberry to hear his words.

"Just that he appreciates all of us coming to visit him and he's going to kick cancer's butt," defensive tackle Jerrell Powe said.

Said Jones: "That sinks deep into the offensive line. Coming from a guy who's doing chemo and working that hard. It makes our day look easy. ... We're a family as an offensive line and we're always going to be there for him."

When he finished speaking, center Chris Myers affectionately grabbed the top of Quessenberry's head. His parents have been with him at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as he fights for his life.

His football family is with him, too.