Justin Reid’s NFL career has had more than its share of ups and downs. A former two-star recruit, the former top safety in the nation had his first shot at the NFL in last year’s draft. But despite an impressive performance at the scouting combine, he was ultimately passed over by every team in the first round.
In a city that’s home to one of the NFL’s last remaining dynasties, it’s no surprise that the Houston Texans have a real feel-good story. Justin Reid, a sixth-round pick in 2018, might have established his biggest dream this Sunday when he kicked off against the Tennessee Titans.
Justin Reid is an undrafted free agent out of Stanford who will be playing his first season in the NFL. After making the team out of camp he was expected to see minimal playing time. Then, in week 6, he caught the only pass thrown his way, securing the victory over the New York Giants. Justin was not expected to be playing in the game, let alone starting.
The majority of people believe that an NFL player’s draft day is when his aspirations come true. Perhaps it’ll be when they play their first NFL game. Justin Reid of the Houston Texans didn’t have his ideal pro football moment until he stepped on the field in a preseason game and officially (sort of) became an NFL kicker. Even though he’s attained his on-field peak, he still has one more objective to accomplish.
By trade, Justin Reid is the starting safety for the Houston Texans.
Justin Reid | Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Tim Warner
Reid grew up in Geismar, Louisiana, a little town about 30 minutes south of the LSU campus. He hails from a family of very athletic people. Eric Reid Sr. was a three-time All-American track and field athlete at LSU. According to the Mercury News, he is also a member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Eric, Justin’s brother, went at LSU as well, but on a football scholarship. Eric was selected 18th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He had a seven-year career that included a trip to the Pro Bowl in his first season.
Sharon Guillory-Reid, the family’s matriarch, is probably the most outstanding football player in the family. Justin and Eric’s mother played tight end and defensive end for the now-defunct Women’s American Football League’s Baton Rouge Wildcats.
Despite his LSU ties, Justin chose to play collegiate football with the Stanford Cardinal instead. In three seasons at Palo Alto, he had 170 tackles, six interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
Following his junior season, the safety declared for the NFL draft, and the Texans selected him in the third round at No. 68 overall. He’s started 40 of the 44 games he’s played for the club since then. He has 249 tackles, five interceptions, and three fumble recoveries in those games.
Despite all of this, Justin Reid’s real NFL dream didn’t come true until the last preseason game of 2021.
When Reid stepped in as the emergency kicker, his goal came realized.
I’VE FINALLY DONE IT!! Without a doubt, this is the most enjoyable preseason game I’ve ever experienced. This is something I’ll never forget. It is possible for dreams to come true. Next time, I’ll be ready for FGs. pic.twitter.com/1EXpzFkRrS
August 29, 2021 — Justin Reid (@JustinqReid)
Justin lettered in track and soccer at Dutchtown High School, according to HoustonTexans.com. He was also the kicker on his high school football team, so those soccer talents came in useful. While succeeding at safety at Stanford, Justin’s huge boot helped him become the team’s emergency kicker.
He previously had this job with the Houston Texans in the NFL. Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn had a mild muscular injury in pregame warmups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the team’s third preseason game of 2021. Justin Reid was called upon by the coaching staff to kick off. If necessary, he was also prepared to kick an extra point or a field goal. Reid told ESPN, “I was ready the entire game.” “I’m not sure whether you [caught] me on the bench. Every time we went down there, I had my helmet put on to see whether I’d get to go out there.”
The Texans opted for two on both occasions and didn’t try a field goal, so Justin still has a ways to go in his kicking career. Nonetheless, he considers it a career highlight:
I had a fantastic experience. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. When the coaches stated, ‘You’re up this game,’ I couldn’t contain my excitement. ‘Really, I get one?’ I thought. ‘No, you’re up the whole game,’ they replied. I was ecstatic to be out there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Justin Reid makes his NFL debut as a kicker.
While Justin has “made some plays at safety” during his career, kicking the ball in a game “is going to go down as one of my favorite memories,” he said.
The Houston Texans have a lot of issues, but an injured kicker isn’t one of them.
The price hasn’t changed, and the circumstances that complicate a possible Deshaun Watson deal in the middle of a legal battle haven’t either. The #Texans continue to listen and wait with less than 24 hours before roster cutdown. pic.twitter.com/gmdbna8pGO @nflnetwork
30 August 2021 — Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero)
Fairbairn seems to have completely healed from the minor strain and should be able to play against the Jaguars in Week 1 for the Texans. The Texans still have significant issues going into the 2021 NFL season, even with Justin Reid concentrating solely on safety and a legitimate kicker back in the fold.
The organization’s most pressing concern is what to do with superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson. According to Sports Illustrated, the fifth-year pro is facing “22 lawsuits claiming sexual assault, and 10 women have filed criminal charges against him.”
Watson has yet to be suspended or placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list by the club or the NFL. Despite this, Tyrod Taylor will almost certainly start the season for Houston. Whether Watson’s situation remains unchanged or he is moved to another club, the Texans will be without their starting quarterback for the most of 2021.
When you combine this on-field problem with the Texans’ new, first-year head coach David Culley and a young squad that just lost face-of-the-defense star J.J. Watt, you have a team that may be among the worst in the NFL this season.
Justin Reid’s feel-good tale of kicking off in a preseason game may be the high point of the Texan’s 2021 campaign.
Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference provided all stats.
The Houston Texans won’t only be awful on the field if Deshaun Watson isn’t available.
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