At a time when NFL teams are going through the motions in preparation for the regular season, Justin Reid was given the chance to fulfill a dream.
When the Texans’ special teams unit took the field to begin Saturday’s preseason contest against the Buccaneers, it was the fourth-year safety who booted the opening kickoff 65 yards downfield. And, no, it was not a trick play.
The moment, as well as the two booming kickoffs that followed it, provided Reid with an experience he had been preparing his whole career for.
“I had the time of my life,” Reid said Saturday, via team transcript. “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for so long. I can’t tell you how excited I was when the coaches said, ‘You’re up this game.’ And I was like, ‘Really, I get one?’ They said, ‘No, you’re up the whole game.’ So I was so excited to be out there. It was a dream come true.”
Tabbed as Houston’s emergency kicker, Reid filled in for the injured Ka’imi Fairbairn for the entirety of the contest while also playing defense in the eventual 23-16 loss.
Reid logged kicks of 65, 61 and 48 yards, the last of which sailed out of bounds (but who really cares about that?). He also logged three tackles, one of which absurdly came during his second kickoff.
As a former soccer player and kicker in high school, Reid shared that he was also named an emergency kicker at Stanford but was never able to put his skills to use in-game. Considering the fact that he was the fifth safety selected during the 2018 draft, it was probably for the best that such an opportunity didn’t arrive.
With his unique dual-threat performance now in the books, Reid can go back to focusing solely on building upon what has been a promising start to his career. It’s highly unlikely that he (or the Texans) would ever consider a permanent switch but Reid made it clear that he’d be open to showing his leg off again, if needed.
“I’m very happy being a safety,” he said. “I’m very happy. I know what I’m best at. But any time, you know what I mean, preseason game, anything like that. If the opportunity ever presents itself, might give the opposing team something to think about to have an actual safety going and kicking down the field. You know, whatever the situation is called for, I’ll be ready for it.”
As admirable as Reid’s enthusiasm is, it’s pretty safe to say his talents will be put to much better use on the defensive side going forward.