ORLANDO, Fla – Eric Reid remains on the open market a fortnight into NFL’s free-agent signing period. He’s a quality defensive back, someone surely deserving of an NFL job.
The safety doesn’t have one yet, which has raised eyebrows and questions about whether his decision to kneel for the national anthem in protest of social injustice toward minorities plays a role in his unemployment.
Reid, who played his first five seasons with the 49ers, joined quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, which started a movement across the league.
Many believe Kaepernick remains unemployed – he was unsigned last year – because he has been outspoken about a push for social change.
Reid has taken a similar stance. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Reid’s case Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings and the message it could send to players who stand with Kaepernick.
“I’ve said this repeatedly to you. The 32 teams make individual decisions on the players who are going to best help their franchises,” Goodell said. “Those are decisions they have to make. They do that every day in the best interest of winning. Teams make those decisions. I’m not directly involved with that.”
Reid said last week a few teams had contacted his agent but no visits were set up. He also said he would no longer kneel during the anthem, a vow Kaepernick made last year but didn’t change his employment status. He also said he doesn’t regret his decision to protest and speak out on social issues.
“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.”
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was asked about Kaepernick’s inability to find a job on Tuesday, and said he was surprised the quarterback was not in the NFL.
"I think there's a lot of intrigue there," Gruden said Tuesday at the coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. "His performance on the field wasn't very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a Rookie of the Year, [I'm] surprised he's out there. Tim Tebow takes a team to the playoffs, there's some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he's out there."
"Back to Kaepernick, he got beat out by [Blaine] Gabbert to start the  season. I think that says something. [But] I am surprised he's not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon."