NASHVILLE – Titans tackle David Quessenberry beat cancer.
So, getting open and catching an NFL touchdown pass on Sunday was a piece of cake.
“It was a simple route --- any of the offensive linemen on this team could have caught that ball,” Quessenberry said after his memorable play. “I just happened to be the guy who had his number called on that play and was able to come down with it. All I was thinking was, ‘Don’t drop it.”
Quessenberry didn’t drop it – he caught a one-yard touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Marcus Mariota in the team’s 19-17 loss to the Colts on Sunday.
What made the play so unique: Quessenberry is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive tackle who hadn’t caught a pass since high school. He was lined up in the team’s jumbo package on the play, making him a tight end, and eligible to catch it.
What made it so special: Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June 2014 while with the Texans. His cancer went into remission after he completed radiation treatment in February 2015, and he completed his full treatment in April 2017, and returned to practice with the Texans.
Quessenberry joined the Titans last year, and he made the team’s 53-man roster this season.
“I have been through a lot, and it has been a long journey to get here,” Quessenberry said. “Even with all of that, to go out there and score a touchdown, it is crazy. That was amazing. It was epic.”
After making the catch, Quessenberry was swarmed by teammates.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota jumped into his arms as he held the ball above his head.
“The ups and the downs and the rollercoaster that he has been a part of,” Mariota said of Quessenberry. “It was a pretty cool moment for him, and hopefully something he’ll remember and cherish for the rest of his life.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel was disappointed with the loss.
But he was happy for Quessenberry. Vrabel was defensive coordinator with the Texans when Quessenberry was in Houston.
“We’d like to have it help us win the game,” Vrabel said. “Dave is a valued member of this football team who can play multiple positions. He cares about the team. Every single day he’s into it on the sideline during the game. He executed the play and we were able to find him.”
After the game, Quessenberry said the Titans worked on the play in practice several times.
But in practice, Mariota never threw him the ball.
On Sunday, he found himself open – and he caught it.
“I guess he just trusted me,” Quessenberry said with a smile. “But I don’t think I am switching positions any time soon. I enjoy being an o-lineman too much. But if my number gets called and they need me to play jumbo tight end, I am happy to do it.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in their 2019 home opener at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)