Justin Reid was given the opportunity to realize a goal at a time when NFL clubs are going through the motions in preparing for the regular season.
The fourth-year safety kicked the opening kickoff 65 yards downfield as the Texans’ special teams unit entered the field to begin Saturday’s preseason game against the Buccaneers. It wasn’t a ruse, by the way.
Reid received an experience for which he had been training his entire career, as well as two booming kickoffs that followed.
“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.”
Reid, who was named Houston’s emergency kicker, came in for the injured Ka’imi Fairbairn for the whole game and also played defense in the 23-16 loss.
Reid kicked 65, 61, and 48 yard field goals, the last of which sailed out of bounds (but who cares?). He also had three tackles, one of which happened to be on his second kickoff attempt.
Reid, a former soccer player and kicker in high school, revealed that he was appointed an emergency kicker at Stanford but never got the chance to use his skills in a game. Given that he was the fifth safety taken in the 2018 draft, it’s perhaps for the best that such a chance never came his way.
Reid can now focus completely on developing on what has been a promising start to his career, with his rare dual-threat performance already in the books. Although it’s unlikely that he (or the Texans) would entertain a permanent swap, Reid stated that if necessary, he’d be willing to show his leg again.
“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.”
Reid’s excitement is laudable, but it’s reasonable to say his skills will be better utilized on the defensive side in the future.