When the Reese’s Senior Bowl announced that the Texans would be coaching the South squad this year, D.J. Reader decided he wanted to be on the field too.
The starting nose tackle texted Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, asking if he could assist in the weeklong practices.
“We called the NFL and the NFL called the NFLPA and everybody said okay as long as he’s not paid, as long as he’s willing to do it for free, which he is,” head coach Bill O’Brien said.
After playing in 30 NFL games with 21 starts, Reader offered instruction and technique from a player’s perspective. Just two years ago, Reader also played in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He also offered life advice for the collegiate players, talking to them about his own experience from the uncertainty of the draft process to the struggles of being a rookie to life in the NFL.
“I was able to go out there and serve just almost as a buffer between the players and the coaches,” Reader said on Texans TV. “Sometimes it’s hard for guys to ask questions directly to a coach in fear of they are going to mess up or somebody’s going to be mad at them. It’s kind of a buffer and gives some knowledge that I might have playing right now that they didn’t know and just a little insight into what it’s going to be like coming inside the NFL.”
Reader, now entering his third season with the Texans, is hoping to have a long career before he ever thinks about post-football career options. As for coaching, he learned that he might pursue it one day but is confident it won’t be in the NFL.
“I don’t know about this level, maybe high school,” Reader said. “This level is kind of stressful. College recruiting is tough. You’re away from your family a lot so high school ball might fit perfectly for me.”
Watch the complete interview on Texans 360, airing Saturday night at 11 p.m. on ABC-13.
Check out some of the best shots from Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo credit: AP Images.)