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Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera to ask NFL about Eric Reid ejection


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera plans to ask the NFL to explain why free safety Eric Reid was ejected for a shoulder-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter of Thursday night’s 52-21 loss.

Rivera, however, doesn’t plan to ask the league about Reid’s claim after the game to the Charlotte Observer that he was drug tested for “like the fifth time” since he was signed by Carolina in late September.

“They’re not going to catch me on anything,” said Reid, who in May filed a grievance against the NFL in which he claimed there was collusion to keep him unemployed because of his protests against social injustice during the national anthem while with the San Francisco 49ers.

Rivera said the drug testing was not a concern.

“I’ve got no issues on that,” Rivera said Friday. “That has nothing to do with what I have to deal with. I’m not in agreeance with what the decision was [on the ejection]. I get the penalty. I don’t get the ejection. I’m going to ask for an explanation as far as that’s concerned.”

The league does not administer drug tests or select those to be tested. That is done by an independent administrator.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy posted the policy on Twitter on Friday after multiple inquiries following Reid’s comments.

“Each week during the season, 10 players per club will be tested,” the policy says. “By means of a computer program, the policy’s jointly appointed Independent Administrator randomly selects before the game players to be tested.”

The league also has the right to eject a player in its effort to protect the quarterback and crack down on head injuries.

After hitting Roethlisberger at the end of a scramble, Reid was flagged for unnecessary roughness due to forcible contact to the head and neck area of a sliding quarterback.

Reid, who was subsequently disqualified from the game, said that he had no intention to hurt Roethlisberger and that he apologized to him afterward.

He agreed with Rivera that the ejection was not warranted.

But Reid seemed to take exception with again being drug tested as he took exception to being fined $10,026 by the league for his unsportsmanlike penalty during a 21-17 victory over Philadelphia.

Reid noted that Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who also was handed an unsportsmanlike penalty on the play after throwing Reid to the ground, did not get fined.

Reid also had an interception overturned in the final minutes that he felt was not justified.

Asked then whether he felt he was being slighted because of his collusion grievance, Reid said, “It’s interesting. I get fined. I got an interception overturned. We’ll see how this appeal here goes.”

Reid was the first player to join then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice. Kaepernick, who also filed a grievance against the league, remains unsigned.



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Eric Reid ejected for hit on Ben Roethlisberger


PITTSBURGH — Carolina Panthers free safety Eric Reid was ejected in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game for a hit on the Pittsburgh SteelersBen Roethlisberger as the quarterback was sliding at the end of a 17-yard scramble.

Reid lowered his head with Roethlisberger already well into his slide and then delivered shoulder-to-helmet contact to the six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Reid was ejected for unnecessary roughness for “forcible contact to the head and neck area of a sliding quarterback.”

The play came with 1:03 left in the third quarter and the Steelers driving for a touchdown that would make it 45-14.

The Panthers in late September became the first team to take a chance on Reid, who filed a collusion grievance against the NFL when no team would sign him after he spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers. Reid said the league colluded to keep him off a roster after he spent the previous season kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice.

He has continued to kneel during the anthem at Carolina and has not dropped the grievance.

New Panthers owner David Tepper, who had not addressed the decision to sign Reid until prior to Thursday’s game, was asked whether he had to give approval first.

“What did I say when I first came here?” Tepper said. “I said the first thing I want to do is? … Win. What was the second thing I said I wanted to do? That was also win. What was the third thing I wanted to do? Enough said.”



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Eric Reid of Carolina Panthers — Ron Rivera doesn’t have kneeling veto


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera consistently has made it clear he has no issue with safety Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice even if it goes against his personal beliefs having grown up in a military family.

Rivera has said repeatedly Reid simply is exercising his First Amendment rights.

“Very respectfully, he doesn’t have a choice,” Reid said on Wednesday when asked about having Rivera’s support in kneeling. “He’s entitled to his opinion, but I know what my rights are. His family was a military family much like many of my people were in the military. My cousin just got back from Afghanistan. My mom was in the armed services. My uncle was enlisted. The list goes on.

“But when they get home they’re still black in America. They’re going to fight the same wars when they get home and still face the same things I’m talking about. So I get encouragement from my family that served in the armed forces because they agree with what I’m saying.”

The Panthers (5-2) will honor the military during Sunday’s NFC South game against Tampa Bay (3-4) as part of “Salute to Service Week.”

Reid plans to kneel during the anthem just as he has the past four games since signing with Carolina. He is the only Carolina player who has taken a knee during the anthem since former San Francisco teammate Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during their 2016 season with the 49ers to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The closest the Panthers had to a protest before Reid’s arrival came during Week 3 last season when defensive end Julius Peppers stayed in the locker room during the anthem. Peppers has been on the field and standing since that game.

“Like I’ve always said about this stuff, the only time it’s a distraction is when you guys bring it up,” Rivera said of the media. “As I’ve always said, I try to keep these things separate. To me it’s about playing football. The players know how I feel about everything. It’s all about what’s going on out on the field.”

Reid said some fans have “yelled” at him in his two homes games with the Panthers. He said most of that occurs before the anthem as he’s warming up.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, I’m expressing mine,” Reid said. “In the stands, I’ve always heard the people yelling. When I’m in the community, when I get approached, I can honestly say I’ve not had anybody say stop kneeling in public. It’s all been supportive.”

Reid and Kaepernick both filed grievances against the NFL when they weren’t signed by another team after the 2017 season. Kaepernick remains unsigned.

The two still work together on projects to fight social awareness and make more people involved in their cause. But it many ways, since signing with the Panthers, Reid has become the voice of the two.

Reid called Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the founders of the Players Coalition, a “sellout” and “neo-colonialist” after the two had a heated exchange prior to their game two weeks ago.

Reid twice following Sunday’s win against Baltimore went through a lengthy answer of why it was important to call out Jenkins when a second wave of reporters approached him.

“We didn’t start protesting for the NFL’s money,” Reid said. “So when we feel like a deal was done to end what we started, we take offense to that.”

Reid said Kaepernick continues to do more behind the scenes with their “Know Your Rights Camps” that don’t get the media attention. “He might not step in front of a camera often, but behind the scenes he’s working extremely hard,” Reid said. “He meets people morning to night on a daily basis.”

While Reid is getting more comfortable in Carolina’s defense and hopes his contribution helps the team achieve its goal of reaching the Super Bowl, he doesn’t mind all the questions about his cause.

“Football is a game,” Reid said. “The A gap is the A gap. The B gap is the B gap. Every team has good players. But this is more important to me. Football is my job, but this is my life. I believe I’ve got to speak up for my people.”

Jenkins said his end game “is to make change and empower people along the way.”

He thinks of the injustices he’s personally seen and read about in American history when kneeling.

“A lot of time it’s anger, knowing the context in which that song was written during the battle, knowing the verses that were omitted from that song,” Reid said. “That song was created talking about killing slaves.”

A verse in the full version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been the focus of controversy in recent years. Some historians argue it was written in celebration of the massacre of former slaves who were fighting for the British in the War of 1812.

“I think about the history I’ve educated myself on, the people that have been lynched by the people that were supposed to protect them,” Reid said. “Just the history of my people, it all runs through my head. Just the videos I’ve seen on social media the last three or four years, it lights a fire in me.”



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Eric Reid on Ron Rivera’s defense of his right to kneel — ‘He doesn’t have a choice’


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera consistently has made it clear he has no issue with safety Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice even if it goes against his personal beliefs having grown up in a military family.

Rivera has said repeatedly Reid simply is exercising his First Amendment rights.

“Very respectfully, he doesn’t have a choice,” Reid said on Wednesday when asked about having Rivera’s support in kneeling. “He’s entitled to his opinion, but I know what my rights are. His family was a military family much like many of my people were in the military. My cousin just got back from Afghanistan. My mom was in the armed services. My uncle was enlisted. The list goes on.

“But when they get home they’re still black in America. They’re going to fight the same wars when they get home and still face the same things I’m talking about. So I get encouragement from my family that served in the armed forces because they agree with what I’m saying.”

The Panthers (5-2) will honor the military during Sunday’s NFC South game against Tampa Bay (3-4) as part of “Salute to Service Week.”

Reid plans to kneel during the anthem just as he has the past four games since signing with Carolina. He is the only Carolina player who has taken a knee during the anthem since former San Francisco teammate Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during their 2016 season with the 49ers to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The closest the Panthers had to a protest before Reid’s arrival came during Week 3 last season when defensive end Julius Peppers stayed in the locker room during the anthem. Peppers has been on the field and standing since that game.

“Like I’ve always said about this stuff, the only time it’s a distraction is when you guys bring it up,” Rivera said of the media. “As I’ve always said, I try to keep these things separate. To me it’s about playing football. The players know how I feel about everything. It’s all about what’s going on out on the field.”

Reid said some fans have “yelled” at him in his two homes games with the Panthers. He said most of that occurs before the anthem as he’s warming up.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, I’m expressing mine,” Reid said. “In the stands, I’ve always heard the people yelling. When I’m in the community, when I get approached, I can honestly say I’ve not had anybody say stop kneeling in public. It’s all been supportive.”

Reid and Kaepernick both filed grievances against the NFL when they weren’t signed by another team after the 2017 season. Kaepernick remains unsigned.

The two still work together on projects to create social awareness and make more people involved in their cause. But it many ways, since signing with the Panthers, Reid has become the voice of the two.

Reid called Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the founders of the Players Coalition, a “sellout” and “neo-colonialist” after the two had a heated exchange prior to their game two weeks ago.

Reid twice, following Sunday’s win against Baltimore, went through a lengthy answer of why it was important to call out Jenkins when a second wave of reporters approached him.

“We didn’t start protesting for the NFL’s money,” Reid said. “So when we feel like a deal was done to end what we started, we take offense to that.”

Reid said Kaepernick continues to do more behind the scenes with their “Know Your Rights Camps” that don’t get the media attention.

“He might not step in front of a camera often, but behind the scenes he’s working extremely hard,” Reid said. “He meets people morning to night on a daily basis.”

While Reid is getting more comfortable in Carolina’s defense and hopes his contribution helps the team achieve its goal of reaching the Super Bowl, he doesn’t mind all the questions about his cause.

“Football is a game,” Reid said. “The A gap is the A gap. The B gap is the B gap. Every team has good players. But this is more important to me. Football is my job, but this is my life. I believe I’ve got to speak up for my people.”

Jenkins said his end game “is to make change and empower people along the way.”

He thinks of the injustices he has personally seen and read about in American history when kneeling.

“A lot of time it’s anger, knowing the context in which that song was written during the battle, knowing the verses that were omitted from that song,” Reid said. “That song was created talking about killing slaves.”

A verse in the full version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been the focus of controversy in recent years. Some historians argue it was written in celebration of the massacre of former slaves who were fighting for the British in the War of 1812.

“I think about the history I’ve educated myself on, the people that have been lynched by the people that were supposed to protect them,” Reid said. “Just the history of my people, it all runs through my head. Just the videos I’ve seen on social media the last three or four years, it lights a fire in me.”



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Eric Reid already at odds with Panthers rookie … over who has the best hands – Carolina Panthers Blog


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On his first day of practice with the Carolina Panthers, safety Eric Reid on Monday already was in a dispute with one of his new teammates.

It had nothing to do with protesting or kneeling during the national anthem.

It had everything to do with bragging rights.

“He actually said he has the best hands in this secondary,” said rookie cornerback Donte Jackson, who, like Reid, is a former LSU star. “I was like, ‘How?’ I told somebody to get him a Snickers, he’s not himself when he’s hungry.”

Reid laughed, then made it as clear that he had the best hands in the secondary as he did that he would continue his collusion case against the NFL.

“Also, without a doubt,” he said. “No question.”

No doubt the addition of the 26-year-old Reid, signed to a one-year deal on Thursday after veteran Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve with his second concussion in a month, has made the Carolina secondary better. He is a five-year veteran and a 2013 Pro Bowl selection.

His grievance with the NFL over colluding to keep him unemployed because he was the first player to join former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem didn’t seem to matter to Jackson nor any other Carolina players.

“He adds a lot of talent to this unit,” Jackson said.

There’s also no doubt Jackson, 22, has made the Panthers (2-1) better. He already has three interceptions, tying him for the NFL lead and which something no Carolina defender has done in the first three games.

Only seven other players in NFL history have three picks in their first three games.

“He’s good,” said Reid, personal feelings about Jackson’s hands aside. “He can be great. He just has to work, and keep working. He has what it takes.”

That both players hail from LSU, otherwise known as DBU, should come as no surprise.

During a 13-year stretch (from 2006 to 2018), 20 players from the LSU secondary were drafted. In the previous five years only two were picked.

Patrick Peterson, drafted No. 5 overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, was the highest-drafted player in the group that also includes Jamal Adams (No. 6, 2017) of the New York Jets, Corey Webster (No. 43 overall, 2005) of the New York Giants and Tyrann Mathieu (No. 69 overall, 2013) of the Cardinals.

San Francisco drafted Reid with the No. 18 overall pick in 2013. The Panthers, in the second around, made Jackson the 55th overall pick in the 2018 draft.

That Jackson and Reid understand how hard it is to get on the field at LSU, which yearly has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, unites them through a bond — one they enjoyed on Monday when walking to practice together for the first time.

“I don’t even think we were talking about football at that time,” Jackson said. “LSU, whether you played with the guy or not, it’s still a brotherhood.

Jackson: ‘I’m like that’

Jackson was passing by Captain Munnerlyn‘s locker at about the same time the nickelback was asked what Jackson brings to the Carolina secondary.

“Donte?” Munnerlyn said. “He brings a lot of mouth to the group.”

Swagger is one of two reasons — the other his speed — why the Panthers drafted Jackson. Coach Ron Rivera has said repeatedly it’s similar to the swagger Josh Norman brought to the group during the Panthers Super Bowl 50 run.

That swagger never was more evident than in a 2015 game against the New York Giants, who visit Bank of America Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (Fox).

Odell Beckham Jr. was flagged three times for unnecessary roughness — twice on one drive in the third quarter — and suspended for the following game by the league for a malicious helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman. The Carolina cornerback was called for unnecessary roughness once.

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Panthers coach Ron Rivera on safety Eric Reid: ”We feel strong about who he is as a young man and who we are as an organization.” Rivera said he and Reid had a good conversation about their beliefs on the anthem and the NFL protests. Feels good about that. Video by David Newton

“Chippy game,” recalled Jackson, who watched it on television as a college sophomore. “Those guys obviously had a feud against each other. It was a great game to watch for me.”

Jackson doesn’t get chippy with receivers, and he doesn’t plan to start even if he gets a chance to face Beckham. It’s just not his style. Whether he gets that chance remains to be seen, as James Bradberry is expected to draw the assignment on OBJ.

But Jackson doesn’t hesitate to let receivers — and teammates — know how good he is.

“Every time he makes a play, he says, ‘I’m like that,’ ” Munnerlyn said. “I guess he’s just letting everybody know he’s good. He makes a play on the field, we say, ‘Good job.’ He says, ‘I’m like that.'”

Backing it up with speed

Munnerlyn pointed to a play against Atlanta in Week 2 when Jackson missed the tackle at the line of scrimmage, got up and chased the running back down.

That play shows why Jackson might be better than Norman was as a rookie, when he started the first 12 games before getting benched.

“No disrespect to Josh, but Donte is a whole lot faster,” Munnerlyn said. “I’ve never seen too many guys with that speed.

Or with that kind of confidence as a rookie. Just don’t count Jackson among those surprised by his fast start.

“Me? Surprised? Nah,” he said. “I’m not surprised at myself. I expected this. I put a lot of work into this. Learned a lot from these guys. These guys helped me gain confidence.”

Playing for LSU also helped Jackson in the same way it helped Reid and others.

“The speed of the game. It’s almost like the NFL,” Munnerlyn said. “The speed of the game and the competition you’re going against, it gets you ready for the NFL.”

Rivera agreed.

“It’s probably the elite conference,” he said. “When you play against that competition year in and year out, you’re going to develop your skill sets. LSU, they recruit those type of players, so you’re going to have a number of them that come out each year.”

‘Changed my life’

Reid can’t wait to get into a game with Jackson. He can’t wait to get in a game with his new defense in general.

Reid said it reminds him of the San Francisco unit he joined as a rookie when he made the Pro Bowl with a career-high four interceptions and beat the Panthers in a divisional playoff game en route to the NFC Championship.

“We had Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Alden Smith, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks … we had some guys,” Reid recalled. “Walking on the field brought me back to that. Julius Peppers is out there and I’m saying, ‘Oh, my goodness!’

“I’m excited to play with those guys.”

Nobody is more excited to play with Reid than Jackson. The 2011 LSU team Reid was a part of, finishing as a runner-up in the national championship game, “changed my life, made me want to go to LSU,” Jackson said.

Reid, in particular, caught Jackson’s eye because of his number.

“He wore my favorite number, which was No. 1, and I ended up taking over that number when he was gone,” Jackson said.

Reid and Jackson also are natives of Louisiana, Reid from Baton Rouge and Jackson from New Orleans. So not only do they talk football, they talk favorite foods and local places to go.

That the Panthers took a chance on Reid when no other team had throughout the offseason means a lot to Jackson and a unit that was considered the weak link coming into the season.

“It just says a lot about our front office, that they want us to be a Super Bowl-winning team,” Jackson said. “Anytime you get talent like that, you know you’re going in the right direction.

“He makes an already good secondary better.”

As for which player has the best hands, that will take care of itself.

“He dropped two today,” Reid said of Jackson. “I’ll just leave that out there.”



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Torrey Smith would like Carolina Panthers to give shot to Eric Reid


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers need a free safety, and wide receiver Torrey Smith would like to see former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid get a shot.

“I think we all know why he hasn’t received a call,” Smith told reporters on Tuesday as the Panthers (2-1) broke for their bye week.

Reid in 2016 joined former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial equality and police brutality.

Last season, the NFLPA filed a grievance with the NFL on Reid’s behalf, alleging team owners and the league, influenced by President Donald Trump, colluded to prevent his unemployment because of his protests.

He became a free agent this past offseason and remains unsigned although several teams, including the Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, have lost a starting safety to injury.

Smith, acquired by Carolina in a trade with Philadelphia during the offseason, has defended the rights of Kaepernick, Reid and others to protest.

He would be more than willing to sit down with the Carolina coaches and make a case for signing Reid, 26, to replace veteran Da’Norris Searcy, who was place on injured reserve last week after suffering his second concussion in a month.

Smith called Reid, a 2013 Pro Bowl selection, a “great leader” and one of the “best men that I know.”

“Honestly, with our injuries, I hope he ends up here,” Smith said. “I know how he is as a talent. If this is something where they come and talk to me about him, I’ll be glad to talk about him as a player, as a person. He’s one of the best men I’ve been around, so I hope that is something that can happen for us because I know that with the injuries we have, he’s a guy that can help this team.

“I really hope he gets a shot. He deserves it, and it’s not right what’s happened to him.”

The Panthers played with a three-safety rotation on Sunday against Cincinnati, starting Mike Adams at strong safety and Colin Jones at free, with rookie Rashaan Gaulden giving relief.

They signed Dezmen Southward, who was with the team in camp, to the practice squad on Monday and also have safety Cole Luke on the practice squad.

Rivera, asked directly about Reid, replied only that the team has discussed several names for the fourth safety spot. He said Southward “definitely” has a chance to move to the 53-man roster by the time the Panthers next play against the New York Giants on Oct. 7.

So it doesn’t sound like Smith, who has been helping promote social justice causes for the NFL “Players Coalition,” will get a chance to plead his case on Reid.

“Both of those guys should be playing,” Smith said of Reid and Kaepernick. “They should be in the league, both of them.”



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Eric Reid, former San Francisco 49ers safety, files collusion grievance against NFL


Former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL over his employment status, a source told ESPN on Wednesday morning.

Reid is working with attorney Mark Geragos, who also represented his former teammate, Colin Kaepernick, in the quarterback’s collusion grievance against the league.

The source told ESPN that Reid’s grievance is a system arbitrator case that will be adjudicated under the terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, and that the claims are similar to those of Kaepernick.

Reid, 26, remains unsigned after becoming a free agent in March when his rookie contract with the 49ers expired. He was one of the first players to join Kaepernick two years in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Reid has since continued his protests during the anthem. He tweeted at the beginning of the offseason that he wasn’t receiving interest from teams because of his actions during the anthem, but multiple executives, including Niners GM John Lynch, have cited a “slow” market at the safety position.

Pro Football Talk reported last month that Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown asked Reid during a recent meeting whether he planned to continue kneeling during the pregame playing of the anthem. Reid, who has said this offseason that he planned to stop protesting, did not end up getting a contract offer from the Bengals.

The Bengals are the only team that has hosted Reid for a free-agent visit so far this offseason.

Reid was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl that year as a rookie. His four-year, $8.4 million contract expired at the end of the season.



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GM says San Francisco 49ers not closing door on safety Eric Reid


San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said Monday the team remains in contact with safety Eric Reid and his agent and has not closed the door on re-signing him.

Reid, who was the first player to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and systemic oppression, had said he believes his protests have affected his job search.

Last season, Reid had 67 tackles and two interceptions for the 49ers, but he has had only one visit in free agency, with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It’s just the safety market has been incredibly slow and Eric’s been a victim of that,” Lynch said. “Some of that is Eric’s discretion of where he wants to be.”

Reid’s only visit during free agency was with the Cincinnati Bengals, who reportedly wanted assurances from Reid that he would not participate in on-field activism.

Reid was a former first-round pick of the 49ers. His four-year, $8.4 million contract expired at the end of the season.

Lynch said if there’s a fit for Reid after the draft, he could return to the 49ers.



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Free agent Eric Reid scheduled to visit with Cincinnati Bengals


Free-agent safety Eric Reid is scheduled to visit the Cincinnati Bengals, a source confirmed to ESPN.

NFL Network first reported the news Monday.

Reid’s visit with Cincinnati is his first known visit of the free-agency period. He became an unrestricted free agent last month after spending the first five seasons of his career with the San Francisco 49ers.

Reid tweeted at the beginning of the league year that he wasn’t receiving interest from teams because of his decision to protest during the national anthem.

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous,” he said. “If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

Reid, 26, was the first player to kneel next to Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and systematic oppression against minorities and has remained outspoken regarding his views on the subject.

But Reid said in March that he would not kneel during the national anthem during the 2018 season, but would instead find other ways to take action.

“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active because I won’t,” Reid said during Stanford’s Pro Day, which he attended in support of his brother Justin, an NFL draft prospect. “I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country.

“I don’t think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem. I say ‘during’ because it’s crazy that the narrative changed to we were ‘protesting the anthem,’ and that wasn’t the case.”

None of the Bengals players have knelt during the national anthem, but they did link arms as a team in a show of unity during the anthem prior to their game against the Packers on Sept. 24. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has said he is proud of how his team handled things last year, but has also said he doesn’t want anything to get in the way of football.

“Our guys have been excellent in this situation,” Lewis told reporters at the owners’ meetings. in March “Because we are about playing football. They have other agendas, this is not the place to be. On Sunday for us and throughout the week in the building, it’s about football. That’s how I’ve approached it.”

The Bengals have never shied away from signing controversial players, including cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, whose off-the-field issues have followed him throughout his career, and running back Joe Mixon, who fell to the second round of last year’s draft after he punched a woman in the face in 2014.

Reid was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He has been a strong player throughout his career, playing strong safety, free safety and even some linebacker last season when San Francisco was shorthanded at the position.

He has 10 interceptions and 36 passes defensed in 70 career games.



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Eric Reid says he doesn’t plan to protest during anthem


STANFORD, Calif. — Free-agent safety Eric Reid says he is not planning to protest during the national anthem this upcoming season.

Reid has been among the NFL’s most visible protesters since former San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the national anthem in 2016.

While Kaepernick was unable to find a job last season, Reid continued the protest of racial injustice and police brutality against minorities by kneeling during the anthem. But Reid said he would take a different approach in 2018.

“We understand you have to change with the times,” he said after watching his brother, Justin, take part in his pro day at Stanford.

“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country. I don’t think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem. I say ‘during’ because it’s crazy that the narrative changed to we were ‘protesting the anthem,’ and that wasn’t the case. I think we’re going to take a different approach to how we’re going to be active.”

More than a week into free agency, Reid has not received any contract offers despite a record of strong play on the field and versatility that many teams usually covet. Last week, Reid said his protests are the reason he was not signed — implying in a tweet that teams’ ownership is keeping offers away.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch said the team is monitoring the market for Reid, but the Niners are mostly set at safety with Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward and Adrian Colbert under contract.

Reid said his agent has heard from a “couple” of teams but that money hasn’t been discussed and he is still awaiting an opportunity. Reid has said he understands his activism could affect his employment, especially after watching Kaepernick go unsigned for more than a year.

“I said before, I stand by what I’ve done,” he said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident that I did what I was taught to do. I’m just going to stay positive, keep training, keep staying in shape, and we’ll see what happens.”

Reid was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He has been a strong player throughout his career, playing strong safety, free safety and even some linebacker last season when San Francisco was short-handed at the position.

He has 10 interceptions and 36 passes defensed in 70 career games.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s kind of stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. I would anticipate things starting to shake for him. We’ll see.”

While Eric Reid looks for a team, he spent Thursday helping his brother prepare for his pro day. Justin Reid is considered one of the top safeties eligible for the draft and probably will be picked within the first two days of next month’s draft.

Justin Reid says he has visits planned with Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle and Carolina. He also met with 29 teams at the combine but said no one has asked him about his brother or if he would protest during the anthem.

Justin Reid said he was prepared for those questions if they came and that he wouldn’t protest.

“We each have our own beliefs,” he said. “He felt like that’s what he needed to do. I have my own ways that I feel like I’m going to go about it. I’m not as much of a vocal person in that situation. I don’t really like drama. I don’t want to deal with that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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