Eric Reid finally has found a new home.
The former 49ers safety signed a one-year deal with the Panthers, the team announced Thursday morning.
“Eric has been a starting safety in the NFL and has played at a high level throughout his career,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. “After we put (safety) Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve, Ron (Rivera) and I discussed our options, and Eric was at the top of our list. He is a physical safety with good ball skills and play-making ability.”
Reid played his first five seasons for the 49ers after the team drafted him No. 18 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. He was named to the 2013 NFL All-Rookie Team and made the Pro Bowl that same rookie season.
At the start of the 2016 season, Reid joined Colin Kaepernick as the first two NFL players to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial and social injustices. In March, Reid told Matt Maiocco he would consider different forms of protests aside from taking a knee.
“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So 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 to improve on.
“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”
Reid also said he didn't regret his decision to kneel.
“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.
“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”
Signing with the Panthers reportedly hasn't changed Reid's standing with his collusion lawsuit against the NFL, according to Ian Rapoport.
Reid has 319 tackles and 10 interceptions in his five-year NFL career.