Lineman's comeback from cancer now includes a TD catch

David Boclair

David Quessenberry said any of the Tennessee Titans’ offensive linemen could have done it. Maybe.

Not just anyone could go through what Quessenberry has, though, and still be an offensive lineman in the NFL, though.

The 29-year-old enjoyed an unexpected development in his recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a form of cancer) Sunday when he scored the Titans’ first touchdown in their 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Quessenberry, who is 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, caught a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota on the first play of the second quarter that tied the score 7-7.

“When my number got called, I just did my job on that play,” Quessenberry said. “It turned out to be a touchdown.”

It wasn’t necessarily his job to be a receiver. Quessenberry was on the field as a “jumbo tight end,” an extra offensive lineman who lines up where the tight end normally would.

It is a personnel group typically associated with power running plays, particularly on short yardage. On first-and-goal from the 1, though the Titans decided to get creative and throw the ball but did not catch the Colts off guard.

“They covered kind of the initial route concept and (Quessenberry) was kind of a last resort,” Mariota said. “Great heads up play by him understanding where space is, and he made a great catch. Credit to him for what he did.”

Quessenberry estimated that the last time he caught a pass was when he was a tight end La Costa Canyon (Calif.) High School. From there, he went to San Jose State where he continued a growth spurt that started in high school and became a three-year starter at left tackle.

He entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2013, but Sunday’s game was just the fourth of his career. He missed all of 2014, 2015 and 2016 due to the cancer and the effects of the treatment. The Titans signed him to their practice squad last September and he made the 53-man roster at the end of this preseason.

“(Quessenberry) is a valued member of this team who can play multiple positions,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “He cares about the team. He’s into it. Every single day he’s into it on the sidelines during the game.

“He executed the play, and we were able to find him.”

Even if no one was looking for him to make the play.

“I wasn’t the first read on that one, for sure,” he said. “Any one of these O linemen could have made that. I happened to be the ‘jumbo’ this week.

“Marcus had a nice easy ball for me to catch and – touchdown.”

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