Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills OT David Quessenberry

The Buffalo Bills continue to plug holes and add depth, having signed OT David Quessenberry to a one-year deal Thursday just before the draft. Signing Quessenberry only reinforces the front office’s strategy of growing on the line of scrimmage and adding experienced players rather than rookies.

Quessenberry comes to the Bills after a long and arduous journey that began nearly a decade ago. He was drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft at San Jose State. As with all other notable Bills signings, below is David Quessenberry’s publicly known injury history.


Injury history

David Quessenberry didn’t appear to have any notable injuries coming out of college, appearing in 50 games over four seasons

2013 Houston Texans

Suffered a broken foot, side unspecified, in training. This happened just after cutback day and before Week 1, forcing him to book injured for the season. Later, he had to undergo surgery to treat the fracture, but apart from this information, it is unknown which foot bone he broke.

2014 Texans

Quessenberry developed a persistent cough and fatigue which led an athletic trainer to urge him to see a team doctor. This doctor then sent him to the emergency room for what was initially thought to be pneumonia. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgin’s T-cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that arises in the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are part of a network in the body that helps fight infection and disease as part of the immune system.

Photo by Alay

He immediately underwent chemotherapy and underwent treatments for ten months followed by 30 maintenance treatments. This happened over the next few years as he spent his time on the non-football injury list with the Texans while he battled illness. During this time, he lost 70 pounds but was still on the team to watch a movie and attend practice. He was finally declared in remission on February 25, 2015 and completed his treatments on April 13, 2017.

Over the next two years, Quessenberry continued his treatment while in the meantime the Texans waived him from a non-football injury designation in 2016. He was later placed on their non-football injury list. football as he continued to recover.

Texas 2017

Quessenberry was able to return for the 2017 season for OTAs and training camp, ultimately being canceled during the cut days. He spent the majority of the season on the practice squad until a late promotion to the active roster in December, appearing in two games. He suffered no publicly reported injuries.

Texas 2018/Tennessee Titans

Quessenberry made it through training camp for the Texans before being released in the final roster cut. He then signed with the Tennessee Titans and spent the season on the practice squad, appearing in zero games.

Titans 2019

He was on the Titans’ roster out of training camp and appeared in the first four games of the season, catching a touchdown pass in Week 2. He was then released after Week 4 and spent the rest of the season on the practice squad. He suffered no publicly reported injuries.

Titans 2020

Appearing in 12 games and one playoff game, he was first signed with the practice squad after training camp. Due to expanded practice squad rosters and call-ups due to COVID-19, Quessenberry was called up for games multiple times before remaining on the roster in late October. He suffered no publicly reported injuries.

Titans 2021

Appearing in all 17 games and one playoff game, Quessenberry suffered no injuries publicly reported in the injury report.


Buffalo Bills impact

The elephant in the room is clearly Quessenberry’s cancer diagnosis and his journey back to the NFL that resulted in significant contributions over the past two seasons. Although there are a host of reasons why Quessenberry was not allowed to return to football until 2017, chemotherapy was the main one.

Some of the more notable side effects are fatigue, easy bruising/bleeding, infections, anemia (low red blood cell count), weight changes, and peripheral neuropathy. There are many more, but these side effects alone make it incredibly difficult to perform daily activities, let alone play football at the highest level. Chemotherapy can also cause bone loss, leading to an increased risk of fractures.

You don’t need to have a medical background to look at these side effects and see why he wasn’t allowed to play football. It was very unfortunate that he had cancer, but being a member of the Texans was very beneficial. He was able to get the resources to treat his cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the top cancer centers in America.

Plus, Quessenberry isn’t the only current NFL player with a history of cancer. Former Pittsburgh Steelers and current Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner treated Hodgkin’s lymphoma during his collegiate career at Pitt, missing the majority of 2015s undergoing treatment. He was also able to come back and was drafted, producing at a high level with a pair of Pro Bowl nods.

As there is so much more to Quessenberry’s cancer journey, there are countless resources and stories to learn more. Apart from cancer and a broken foot, he has been healthy, especially last season, appearing in every game. There are no concerns about his injury history as his cancer remains in remission as he continues to receive regular checkups and undergoes NFL physicals.

He’s come quite a run over the past decade, but doesn’t have the playing mileage that a nearly decade-old NFL veteran would have at this point. If he doesn’t make the team, it will be because of his talents, not his injuries. The fact that he beat cancer and started playing football at the highest level again is just amazing.


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