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DJ Reader: Possibility of Playing With Joe Burrow Played Role in Decision to Sign With Bengals

Reader is one of the best nose tackles in the NFL.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals' defense has been much improved this season. Some of their success has to do with free agent additions like Larry Ogunjobi, Trey Hendrickson and Chidobe Awuzie. 

It can also be attributed to health. DJ Reader is fully healthy after playing in just five games last season due to a quad injury. He has 14 tackles and one sack. He's also drew multiple holding penalties and made life tough on opposing quarterbacks. 

The Bengals signed Reader in March of 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic started, which meant he didn't get to take free agent visits or meet with teams in person. 

He didn't have much time to make a decision, but Joe Burrow played a role in Reader ending up in Cincinnati, even though he wouldn't join the Bengals for another six weeks. 

"Talk to my agent, he was like, your options are, who are you going to be on, Joe Burrow or Drew Lock? I was like, I really think I’m going to go with Joe Burrow, Joey B. I like what they’ve got going on, I’m excited," Reader said. "That’s really what it came down to. It was a quick 15 minutes between all those things that happened. I made the call and was like I’ll take me a nap. There wasn’t a natural experience of being able to go on visits, I hadn’t seen anything. I had to go word of mouth with what everybody’s telling me. I was like, alright. This is what we’re doing."

Related: Joe Burrow Nominated for Air Player of the Week

It looks like Reader made the right decision, as Burrow has quickly become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL

The 27-year-old nose tackle is doing his part and the Bengals are 3-1 for the first time since 2018. Watch Reader's entire news conference at the top of this page. 

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