Texans release Cunningham

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The Houston Texans are releasing linebacker Zach Cunningham, head coach David Culley confirmed Wednesday, according to Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790.

"We have standards," Culley said Wednesday about the decision to waive Cunningham. "I didn't feel like those standards were being met consistently. It wasn't tough at all. It's about the team. It's not about one individual player."

Cunningham was benched during Houston's 31-0 loss against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Culley said postgame that it was because the 27-year-old was late for a scheduled COVID-19 test, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop.

"I got a locker room full of players who understand what our standard is," the coach said, according to Wilson. "They look at me cross-eyed if I'm not practicing what I'm preaching."

Cunningham was also sidelined for the Texans' Week 2 matchup against the Cleveland Browns for recurring tardiness. Culley said he'd warned the player that any further team violations would result in his exit.

The linebacker signed a four-year, $58-million contract with Houston in 2020 but agreed to restructure his deal in March. Cunningham will be subject to the league's waiver process and will carry a $275,000 cap hit for any team that claims him, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

The 2017 second-round pick racked up 570 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks through five seasons in Houston. He has tallied 67 tackles and four tackles for loss across 10 appearances in 2021.

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Texans release Cunningham
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