Just how hard did this former Clemson standout take the Cincinnati Bengals’ Super Bowl loss?
Well, D.J. Reader typically talks to his mother every day and told reporters recently, referring to his mom, “That’s my dog.”
But after Cincinnati’s 23-20 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, the former Clemson and current Bengals defensive lineman didn’t talk to his mom for about a week.
“I take losses pretty hard, no matter what loss, and especially like when you get that close,” Reader said in a recent news conference. “So, I didn’t really talk to too many people. My mom knows how I am. So, I don’t think I talked to my agent for a month. I didn’t talk to my mom for probably like a week. Everybody was just kind of out for a little bit.”
Reader added that he and his mother are a lot alike, and she doesn’t try to talk to him after any loss. So, considering that, it makes sense that they didn’t speak for a while after a painful loss like the Bengals suffered in the Super Bowl, which came down to the wire and saw the Rams prevail when Aaron Donald pressured Joe Burrow on fourth-and-1 with 43 seconds left in the game, forcing an incomplete pass and turnover on downs.
“Me and her are very similar,” Reader said of his mom. “We don’t talk to each other after losses. But me and her really always talk about leaving it all out there on the field. That’s something her and my dad have always preached to me since I was a kid, just demeanor and how you play the game. If you leave it all out there on the field, you really don’t have anything to be ashamed about. You’re a natural competitor, you’re going to be pissed.”
Reader, who made Pro Football Focus’s ranking of the top 101 players from the 2021 NFL season, started the Super Bowl and registered a sack in the third quarter, the second postseason sack of his career.
Reader was asked if there is any particular play that has stuck with him when he reflects on the outcome of the Super Bowl.
“Not any particular play,” he said. “You always feel like, yourself, you could’ve done more. But if I go back and scan over the game, you can’t really say oh, one play killed us or this, that and the third killed us. It was a good game. It was a good game, and they came out on top.”
–Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
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