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Former Texans DL Reader Feels 'Forced' By New NFL COVID Policy

Reader is among several players unhappy and speaking out

HOUSTON -- On Thursday, it was announced that NFL teams could forfeit a game due to a COVID-19 outbreak among non-vaccinated players, and players on both teams wouldn't get paid that week.

In a memo acquired by NFL Network and the Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that there would be no make up games later in the season. If a team did not have enough players on the roster that week due to an outbreak, they would foreit. 

Perhaps worst of all? The forfeiting team will be credited with a loss and the other team will be credited with a win.

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“If a game can’t be rescheduled and is canceled due to a COVID outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc,” Goodell said. 

Some players have already made their thoughts clear on the positives on getting the vaccine as a positive. Former Houston Texans defensive lineman D.J. Reader, is not a fan of what could be considered mandatory. 

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Reader, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, tweeted out that it feels "forced" to receive the vaccine before the start of camp. This isn't to say he is in danger of losing a roster spot, but he could lose a paycheck if he catches the virus. 

Reader also did not say anything about the vaccine as a whole, but rather the consequences. Last season, several players were ruled ineligible due to testing positive right before kickoff.   

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The league says more than half its teams have COVID-19 vaccination rates greater than 80% of their players, and more than 75% of players are in the process of being vaccinated. There is no current percentage on the number of players vaccinated on the Texans' roster as of this time.

Reader, who was selected out Clemson in the fifth round back in 2017, recorded 154 total tackles, 24 quarterback hits, 24 quarterback pressures, 16 tackles for losses and 8.5 sacks during his four years with the team. 

Last offseason, Reader agreed to a four-year, $53 million contract to join the Bengals. He played in five games before going on the injured reserve with a quad injury. 

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