The Vanderbilt community is rallying around one of its own who has received some devastating news.
Former Vanderbilt safety Andre Hal, who is now a member of the NFL’s Houston Texans, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, the team announced on Friday afternoon.
The statement from the Texans provided few details but indicated Hal is undergoing treatment and evaluating his next steps and that he and his family are asking for privacy.
“Hal received a preliminary diagnosis from team physician Dr. James Muntz at Houston Methodist Hospital,” the statement indicated. “Hal and the Texans medical team have sought further consultation with physicians at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he continues to undergo testing and evaluation and is discussing his treatment options.”
Hal has played with the Texans for his entire four-year NFL career after Houston selected him in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.
“My faith in God and the support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches will see me through this difficult time,” Hal said in a statement released by the team. “I will not let this diagnosis stop me from fulfilling my dreams, and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I know how to beat this, and I will beat it.”
Hal played in all four of his seasons for the Commodores, making multiple All-SEC teams following his junior and senior seasons in Nashville. He led the SEC in passes defended with 18 as a senior.
“The news of Andre Hal’s diagnosis weighs heavy on the hearts of everyone in the Houston Texans family,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien said in the team’s release. “Andre epitomizes what it means to be a Houston Texan through his leadership, community involvement and team-first attitude. We are confident that Andre’s resiliency and infectious positivity, along with treatment and care from the best medical community in the world, will guide him through his recovery. The entire Texans organization is behind Andre and his family during this difficult time and we look forward to his eventual return to the team.”
As a member of the Texans, Hal has played in all but three games over four seasons, totaling 176 tackles, 26 passes defended and 9 interceptions, 1 of which he returned for a touchdown.
“We are saddened to learn of Andre’s diagnosis,” said the McNair family, the Texans owners. “Andre is tough and faithful, and we believe he is prepared to win this fight. The McNair family as well as the entire Texans organization will continue to be there for him, love and support him, and pray for his recovery.”
Hal’s Commodores were quick to offer their support and encouragement on Twitter as well.
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) June 8, 2018
As did J.J. Watt and other Texans teammates:
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 8, 2018
Much love to the big bro Dre. We are behind you 1000% @Drehal29
— kyle fuller (@Cudi_K) June 8, 2018
Dre is one of the most positive and best teammates I’ve ever been around. He’s a man of God and strong in his faith, I know he’ll win this battle 🙏🏾 https://t.co/Jk3yxDE0nL
— Jeff Allen (@JeffAllen71) June 8, 2018
NFL Network reporter James Palmer pointed out that Hal will have a great resource in one of his teammates, David Quessenberry, who went through a similar battle.
It was four years ago this week #Texans OL David Quessenberry was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and returned to the team last year. Today the Texans announced S Andre Hal has been diagnosed with Hodgkins’ Lymphoma. If Hal can lean on anyone it’s DQ. pic.twitter.com/pKZ2w6ndut
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) June 8, 2018
Everyone at SEC Country wishes Hal the best in his recovery and will keep him in our thoughts and prayers.