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'Karate Kid' 'Crane Kick': John Metchie III, Battling Cancer, Gets Texans Tribute

Jalen Camp and several other Texans receivers paid tribute to rookie receiver John Metchie III against the Saints.

HOUSTON – As Houston Texans receiver Jalen Camp toe-tapped his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown Saturday evening, the crowd at NRG Stadium erupted, all part of the Texans' 17-13 preseason-opening win over the Saints. As most NFL receivers often do, Camp celebrated his score.

His pose, however, has a history, and a reason.

The pose, better known as the “crane kick,'' was originated by Texans rookie receiver John Metchie III during his time at Alabama. The celebration - borrowed from the 1984 film "The Karate Kid'' - employs one foot on the ground and one in the air with bent-knee, with both arms out-stretched.

And while Metchie is gone from the playing field for now while battling cancer, players in Houston are making sure he isn't forgotten.

“All the guys in the receiving room decided that the very first touchdown that we had was going to be the crane celebration for Metchie for everything that he's going through and just pay homage,” Camp said Monday.

Metchie, Houston’s second-round pick, is currently undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia - the most curable form of leukemia - in July. The No. 44 pick has not been at the facility since the start of training camp, but players remain in constant communication with him. 

Coaches have also been in contact with the slot receiver through his recovery, making sure he feels as if he’s a vital member of the team’s success.

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“We just wanted to stay close and that's one thing [coach] Lovie [Smith] preaches is we've got to do things together as a team, so we just try to stay close as possible,” cornerback Tremon Smith said.

Camp’s touchdown played a crucial role in Houston’s win over New Orleans. Few in the stadium will remember the outcome, but the organization will cherish the moment.

When asked if the team would continue to use the kick as a celebration through the regular season, Camp said it could be a possiblity. The small gesture apparently meant the world to Metchie, who gave positve feedback to Camp and the others on their form and finishing move.

“We all realized that what he's going through and what he's dealing with is kind of bigger than everything that we're doing,” Camp said. “We're out here playing football and he's dealing with something way bigger than this, so for us to just do that little celebration was big for us to do.”

The Texans will face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Aug. 19. 

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