Clemson standout opens up about struggles from a season-ending injury

Clemson standout opens up about struggles from a season-ending injury

Football

Clemson standout opens up about struggles from a season-ending injury

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A former Clemson standout says he will be ready to go when the 2021 football season begins in a few months.

D.J. Reader, who played for the Tigers from 2012-’15, signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in March of 2020. The defensive tackle played in five games before a quad injury at Baltimore sidelined him for the rest of the season.

On Wednesday, Reader was on the sideline, again, but this time working out in a limited capacity during the Bengals OTAs. But he told reporters he is feeling good about being 100 percent once the season kicks off in September.

“I never put a time limit on it, but I’ll be ready to go when it’s time to go and I’m out there working with the guys, the training staff is here pushing me,” Reader said to the Dayton Daily News.

Prior to last season’s injury, Reader had not missed more than two games in his previous four seasons when he playing for Houston.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been through an injury, and it was probably the toughest thing of my life the first couple weeks,” Reader said the Dayton Daily News. “Just not being able to do anything, never being down like that. But I’ve got a strong support system. My mom came down, took care of me for a couple weeks, I was able to spend a lot of time with my son.”

The time off, according to the defensive tackle, opened his eyes to what is truly important in life.

“You get those mental reminders that life is bigger than you and you can do it. Take it a day at a time,” Reader said. “I didn’t think about it too much, every day it got better. It’s been a process, it’s been a grind, it’s been fun though. I wouldn’t have started the journey if I didn’t think I was going to come back.

“I told myself from Day 1, don’t go out there if you’re going to quit. As soon as I started rehab, I knew what my journey was and how I wanted it to end.”

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