Justin Reid benched for disciplinary reasons after disagreement with Culley

Texans veteran standout safety Justin Reid, one of the top players on the struggling AFC South franchise, was a healthy scratch for Sunday's defeat against the New York Jets at NRG Stadium for disciplinary reasons stemming from a disagreement during a team meeting days before kickoff.

Reid and coach David Culley had a heated exchange during a team meeting Thursday after the coach pointed out and corrected defensive errors days after a 22-13 road victory over the Tennessee Titans a week ago during which the defense intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill four times, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

One day after strongly taking issue with the coach's criticism of the defense and arguing during the meeting with wide receiver Chris Conley, the defensive standout was informed Friday by Culley that he would be inactive for the Jets game, according to sources.

“It was a disciplinary reason and coach’s decision,” Culley said following the 21-14 loss to the Jets. “We’ll keep that internal. It was my decision, and it’s internal. Anytime we have disciplinary reasons like that, it's always internal."

When asked if this is a one-game situation, Cully replied: “We’ll talk about it (Monday.”

New England Patriots v Houston Texans

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This decision from Culley maintains consistency with how he handles individual player situations.

That includes starting linebacker Zach Cunningham being benched for disciplinary reasons for the first quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns due to lateness issues and previously choosing to not attend a preseason game and starting cornerback Desmond King being benched for an entire game against the Los Angeles Rams due to unexcused absences from team activities, according to league sources.

Culley said he’s not concerned that the team has disciplined three different players this season, adding that a player’s status isn’t a factor in making these decisions.

“We have rules, and when the rules are broken, we make decisions on those,” Culley said. “It doesn’t matter who it is.”

The Texans started Eric Murray again at one safety spot. Terrence Brooks started at the other safety spot before injuring his hamstring.

A former third-round draft pick from Stanford, Reid is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022 after his four-year, $4.063 million rookie contract expires. Reid is being paid a $2.433 million base salary this year.

Reid was already expected to leave during free agency, even before this negative situation arose. 

Reid had started every game for the 2-9 Texans until this game. He has two interceptions and one forced fumble and 42 tackles.

The younger brother of former Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid, Reid has seven career interceptions.

 “It’s always tough, but coach said from Day One we’re gonna hold everyone accountable for their actions,” Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “(Culley) made a decision. As a team, we support our coaches and our leadership decisions and we continue to keep moving forward.”

Texans defensive end Jon Greenard echoed that sentiment, saying the matter isbetween Reid and Culley.

“I mean, shoot, coach tells us whatever is going on,” Greenard said. “He’s held everybody accountable from Day One. Whatever decision he goes with, we’re going to stick with. I don’t have too much to say about that one.”

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

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