Texans coach David Culley on the release of Zach Cunningham: ‘We have standards’

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HOUSTON — The Houston Texans released linebacker Zach Cunningham on Wednesday in a move that followed up disciplinary action taken in Week 13.

His release came three days after the Texans suspended Cunningham when he failed to show up for a COVID test ahead of Houston’s 31-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

“We have standards, and I did not feel like our standards were met consistently,” coach David Culley said. “I feel like I made a decision that was best for our team. It is not about one individual.”

Culley said the decision to release Cunningham was not tough, stating, “It is not about being the best player on the team. But also, being the best player for the team.”

Cunningham came to the Texans as a second-round pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Houston’s second selection after taking quarterback Deshaun Watson in the first round.

In 72 career games as a member of the Texans, Cunningham recorded 570 combined tackles, 12 quarterback hits and 6.5 sacks. Amidst the Texans’ 4-12 season in 2020, Cunningham led the NFL in tackles with a career-best 164 on the year.