When X’s and O’s take a backseat
On Friday afternoon news broke that Houston Texans safety Andre Hal had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer that attacks the body’s white blood cells.
From a football standpoint, a team with a leaky secondary last season loses another man, but from a bigger picture, a 26-year-old professional athlete now faces his hardest task.
Drafted in 2014 out of Vanderbilt, Hal had recently signed a contract extension with the Texans. He now faces a season of treatment rather than a season of playing safety. News of Hal hit Houston’s entire organization hard. Pages and pages of tweets from not only Texans’ teammates but other NFL players were posted with messages of support and prayer.
From a football standpoint, head coach Bill O’Brien faces a difficult task. On one hand, life is bigger than football, especially when it comes to a battle with cancer. On the other hand, he still has a job to do when it comes to preparing his players to play a season of football at the highest level possible.
Best case scenario? Hal is able to beat his cancer and return back to the field without missing a beat like Chief’s safety Eric Berry did after he was diagnosed with a similar diagnosis in 2015. As for the Texans, hopefully, this provides motivation over just sympathy. I expect Houston to rally together in honor of Hal to have his back on and off the field.
Let’s be honest this is a huge blow to an already shaky secondary. Not being able to stop down the field passes was one of Houston’s biggest problems last season. Coach O’Brien and his staff will have their hands full with trying to fix that unit now with a man short. But for the time being, sending love and support to Hal who is facing something much bigger than X’s and O’s is the only thing that matters.