San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid says he is prepared to go into retirement, if no team picks him up because of his two seasons of protesting during the playing of the national anthem.
Reid will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017 football season, but he seems to feel that he may end up on the outside looking in because of his constant protesting. And he is “completely fine” if he ends up an ex-NFL player, ESPN reports.
In 2016, Reid became the first player to join teammate Colin Kaepernick in his protest by taking a knee during the playing of the nation’s theme. Reid has repeatedly attacked the NFL for leaving Kaepernick unsigned after the former second-string quarterback became a free agent at the end of the 2016 season.
Reid noted that he understood it was “a possibility” that he may end up like his friend and that no team would sign him for next season.
“I wouldn’t use the word concerned,” the payer said. “I would say I understand that’s a possibility. And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”
The player went on to admit that some teams will simply disregard him.
“It’s a possibility,” Reid admitted. “There are probably teams that won’t want to talk to me because of it. I’m hopeful that I will be on a team next year, but if not, again, that’s OK with me.”
He also said that he has talked to his wife to prepare her for the possibility that his NFL career might end this year. “But like I said,” he concluded, “at this point, it’s all hypothetical. I’m still a 49er, I’ve still got a game to play, I’ve still got a job to do. That’s what I’m going to worry about.”
According to reports, the 49ers have enough cap dollars to re-sign Reid, but he has several teammates close to his position which might earn them a shot over him when push comes to shove.
Reid missed three games this year due to an injury and came back to find that coaches had put Jaquiski Tartt in his position. But when Tartt suffered an injury of his own, Reid got back his spot as strong safety.
As ESPN noted, “For the season, Reid has 61 tackles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions in 12 games.” So, he certainly has strong positives from his play for bringing him back for 2018. Further, the 49ers have certainly been one team that has gone out of its way to support protesting players.
The 49ers have not yet spoken to any free agents, and no decisions have been made about the 2018 roster.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.