The Carolina Panthers signed free agent Eric Reid, the former safety for the San Francisco 49ers who filed a grievance against the league for colluding against him because of his role as a face of the player protests during the national anthem. Reid, along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, participated in protests during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games to highlight social awareness and racial injustice.
Smith, who has has defended the right of players to protest, called the 26-year-old Reid a "great leader" and one of the "best men that I know".
The Carolina Panthers have signed the free agent safety to a one-year contract. Most agree with Stills and believe that both are more than talented enough to play football, but Kaerpnick has not been in the NFL since 2016, and Reid went unsigned until a quarter of the way through the season.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney told The Associated Press it was a "football decision" that was approved by new owner David Tepper.
Reid is expected to start right away after the Panthers placed Da'Norris Searcy on injured reserve last week. He's a very physical player who has good ball skills and really good playmaking ability. In May, Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL alleging he has been kept out of the league due to his political stance. But no one signed him after his contract expired at the end of last season.
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"We made this decision based on the fact he's a good football player, " Hurney told ESPN.
The Panthers are next set to hit the gridiron on October 7 to face off against the New York Giants.
The Panthers were listed at No. 5 on NFL.com's power rankings this week. "It would be plausible for two teams to conspire against Reid and then a third team signed him". "We were on the phone - 'What are you doing?' 'I just came from a workout".
In March, Reid said he wouldn't take a knee during the anthem once he's back on the field. The posts on social media deeply disturbed me, but one in particular brought me to tears: "the killing of Alton Sterling in my hometown Baton Rouge, La", he wrote. The Panthers are now on a bye week; their next game on Sunday, Oct. 7.
While Hurney said Reid would help the team, he added that it's not yet certain when the safety will see action.