Former Texans player D.J. Reader going to AFC Championship game with Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals At Tennessee Titans Jan 22 Afc Divisional Playoffs
Cincinnati Bengals At Tennessee Titans Jan 22 Afc Divisional Playoffs /

Former Houston Texans N.T. D.J. Reader is excelling in playoffs with the Cincinnati Bengals.

One former Houston Texans player, a player the franchise shouldn’t have let get away, D.J. Reader is one win away from playing in the Super Bowl as the Cincinnati Bengals won in dramatic fashion against the AFC South champion Tennessee Titans on Saturday in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs.

When Reader was a member of the Houston Texans for four seasons, joining the team as a fifth-round pick in 2016, he was one of those players who didn’t get his name mentioned a lot, but he was a difference maker and improved his play each season with the team.

When it came time for his contract talks, the Texans let him walk as a free agent following the loss in the Divisonal Round of the 2019 NFL Playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs. Reader in his time with the Texans was an excellent defensive lineman with three seasons of at least 23 or more solo tackles and 6.5 sacks in four seasons.

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Nothing has been the same for the Texans since that game, as the franchise has completely changed with new head coaches, a new general manager and lots of rebuilding ahead.

As for Reader, after being injured in 2020, his ’21 season is still going strong as he collected five tackles in the Divisional Round game with Cincinnati against Tennessee, and he’s now playing in the AFC Championship game next Sunday.

After the victory on Saturday, Reader had this tweet about Derrick Henry and the AFC South champion Titans:

It is amazing to see a player like Reader, who was a fifth-round pick by the Texans, play well in his tenure with the franchise, leave and go to another franchise that used to be in a rebuild mode, get a hefty contract from the Bengals, and now is only one win away from playing in the biggest game of all.

Getting that one win to play for the NFL championship is a huge task ahead, but seeing Reader do his job at a high level against the Titans on a national stage was big for the tackle, and well-deserved.

If Texans fans are looking for a cheering interest next Sunday, maybe Reader is that player and who knows, maybe Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio is taking notes, because if the Bengals franchise can build a team to make the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1988, why can’t the Texans eventually build a roster like that as well?

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Best of luck to Reader in next Sunday while playing in the AFC Championship game against either the Chiefs or Buffalo Bills.