John Metchie: No Stranger to Adversity

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver John Metchie III (8) on the field during the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game against Cincinnati, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. Alabama won, 27-6. (Ric Tapia via AP)

The news broke a week before John Metchie was set to don an NFL uniform and show the world he was ready to compete on the big stage. He was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). In a statement released by the Houston Texans, Metchie said, “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.” For Metchie, his treatment will most likely sideline him for the 2022 NFL season, but his path to the NFL was fraught with hurdles just like this one.  


Metchie was born in Taiwan, before moving to Ghana. Metchie, His mother, and four brothers moved to Brampton Canada when he was only 6. Metchie grew up playing soccer and lacrosse while living in Brampton, but football was in his blood. John’s older brothers, Leon and Miles, played football and their mother always put football first. John first hit the field playing Pee Wee Football in Brampton with Leon and Miles looking on from the sidelines. Soon after, John was displaying the natural talent and athleticism he possessed.  

Metchie made the decision to leave his whole life and family behind to pursue his passion for football. He landed at St. James High School in Maryland. During his freshman year, Metchie took a hit to the chest and knew something was wrong. Doctors told him that he had an enlarged heart that would sideline him for the season. Metchie who was 14, in a foreign country away from friends and family with an incurable heart condition refused to give up. He trained twice as hard to condition his body so he could hit the field again. When he did, he was unstoppable for the rest of his high school career. He recorded over 1,300 rushing yards, 2,500 receiving yards, and 42 touchdowns. He was recruited by 25 division I schools and was a top ten recruit in the state.  

Metchie took his talents to Alabama where he would go on to have a small role in the offense his freshman year being the fifth receiver on the depth chart. During his sophomore year, Metchie started the season on the lower side of the depth chart. But, when Jaylen Waddle went down for the season during their matchup with Tennessee, Metchie was thrust into his place, and he was up to the task. He recorded over 900 yards and 6 touchdowns that season while playing alongside DeVonta Smith during his Heisman campaign. The following year, Metchie hit his stride, earning his spot as the top target, and helping lead his team to another playoff run. Then, in the SEC championship game versus Georgia, while cutting on a route, he tore his ACL.  

Metchie was weeks away from closing out his last year at Alabama and had a rising draft stock. But Metchie, could not be deterred there. Despite his injury, he was drafted 44th overall by the Texans in a stacked 2022 draft WR class. Metchie trained hard from December to July to be ready for the upcoming season. Coaches and doctors were astounded at his rate of recovery. One Texans coach said Metchie’s recovery was at an “Adrian Peterson Rate” and team doctors said he would be ready for training camp before the 2022 season.  

Then, Metchie encountered what might be his biggest challenge to date, a cancer diagnosis. The prognosis for APL is good compared to other forms of leukemia but treatment for cancer takes a huge toll, to say the least. Metchie will understandably sit for the 2022 season while he undergoes treatment. Anyone who knows Metchie’s story knows he’s had his fair share of adversity in life. But time and time again when the going gets tough, Metchie gets tougher.

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