A little more than a year after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, Brampton’s John Metchie III is preparing to make his NFL debut with the Houston Texans this Sunday.
The wide receiver was selected by the Texans in the 2022 NFL Draft after playing at the University of Alabama, but he sat out all of last year while undergoing treatment.
By his side throughout the process was his big brother and Toronto Argonauts defensive back Royce Metchie. Royce learned of his brother’s diagnosis a day after the Touchdown Atlantic 2022 game in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
“My mind was racing,” Royce said, “but at the same time I could only imagine what he was going through.”
John did most of his rehabilitation in Houston. Royce took a short leave of absence from the Argonauts to be at his brother’s side as he fought.
“He just attacked him, like everything he does,” Royce said. “It’s one thing to dwell on bad news, but there’s no point sitting on it, you know? You just have to accept that it is what it is and move on.
As John worked to return to football, his family rallied behind him.
“I was able to spend quite a bit of time with him and keep him company,” Royce said. “We have a very big circle, so friends and family all took turns watching over him.”
With John locked up before the start of the season, he wasn’t available for an interview, but Royce says he has a new lease on the game he loves.
“He’s so excited. One of the most fun things for him is just training. He loves football and he has fun with it.
Royce now leans on his little brother for energy as the Argos look to finish the second half of their season strong.
“He’s one of my biggest inspirations,” he said. “[John’s] was always the smallest of us all, but he always did everything we could do. He continues to inspire me every day.
The Argos will face the Montreal Alouettes in Toronto the day before John’s debut with the Texans in Baltimore, and Big Brother plans to do his best to arrive in time to see him.
“I hope I can find a way to get on a flight,” Royce said. “I really hope to see his first.”
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