Texans receiver Tank Dell recalls 'traumatic experience' as victim of Florida restaurant shooting

HOUSTON (AP) — As Houston Texans receiver Tank Dell recovered in the hospital after being wounded in a Florida restaurant shooting, one question dominated his thoughts.

“The only thing I was asking (was) am I going to be all right to play football? Like that was my main thing,” Dell said Tuesday. “Will I be OK to run and play football like I’d been doing?”

Doctors soon told him that the gunshot wound to his leg was a flesh wound that would leave no permanent damage.

“So, once they told me it was just like a through and through, once they told me that and was like, ‘You’ll be good,’ I was ready to go,” Dell said.

The second-year player said he was sidelined for only about a week after the April shooting in Sanford, Florida, that wounded nine others before resuming his workouts to prepare for the season.

“It’s just a blessing that I’m safe,” said Dell, who is from Daytona Beach. “But it’s a traumatic experience.”

Dell has completely recovered from the shooting and was a full participant in Houston’s minicamp Tuesday. He shined in the more than hourlong practice, grabbing several passes from C.J. Stroud.

Dell said he’s moved on from the shooting with the help of his faith, family, friends and those in the Texans organization. He attends church once a week and prays each morning and night.

“I got God on my side, keep him first in everything I do,” he said. “So, I feel good. I’ve got the right group of guys around me, keeping my head up, my mom, my pops, people back home, my grandmother, everybody praying for me and just calling me checking in every day now.”

Dell was drafted in the third round in 2023 after a standout career at the University of Houston. He had 709 yards receiving and set a franchise rookie record with seven touchdown receptions last season before breaking his left fibula in December.

After missing time with that injury, then dealing with the aftermath of the shooting, Dell is happy simply to be back on the field.

“It’s a blessing just to be out there just running around,” he said. “I don’t even have to get the ball, just running around and just running routes and just feeling love from my team makes it feels great.”

Stroud, who counts Dell among his best friends on the team, raved about how hard he’s worked to get back after all he’s endured in the last few months.

“This football stuff, it seems like it’s everything, but it’s not,” Stroud said. “We’re people and we go through a lot off the field that people don’t know. And as his brother I have to be there for him just like he’s there for me. I’m just proud of him; the word proud isn’t even probably enough to state the feelings that I have for that guy.”


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