Panthers safety Eric Reid had a difference of opinion with the 49ers during his final season with the club in 2017.
Reid said he always wanted what was best for the team. And, in his opinion, releasing NaVorro Bowman and being moved to linebacker was not the best course of action for the 49ers to take two years ago, he said Wednesday.
Reid, in his second season as the starting strong safety for the Panthers, will face the team for which he played his first five NFL seasons for on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
Reid had some good season for the 49ers, including an appearance in the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2013. But his tenure ended with him and the coaching staff not seeing eye-to-eye on his role, he said.
“I remember they changed my position in my contract year,” Reid said while addressing the media that cover the Panthers. “I remember they released NaVorro Bowman, who led the NFL in tackles the year before, and asked me to play his position.
“I disagreed. I thought keeping the NFL tackle leader was best for the team, but I did what I was told.”
Bowman led the NFL in tackles in 2015. He missed 12 games in 2016 with a torn Achilles. The 49ers released Bowman in 2017 after five games.
Eric Reid on facing the 49ers for the first time since his release. pic.twitter.com/2zAIKNt2nh— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) October 23, 2019
When Reid was a free agent after the 2017 season, the 49ers publicly kept the door open for his return on a one-year contract. The 49ers already identified Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt as the starting safeties.
Reid eventually signed with the Panthers in 2018 and appeared in 13 games, all as a starter.
Reid said he did not like the way he and Colin Kaepernick were treated. Reid joined Kaepernick in taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem as a protest of social inequality in the United States.
The 49ers made no attempt to re-sign Kaepernick in 2017 after he opted out of his contract. General manager John Lynch said the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out.
“Revenge wouldn’t be the word that I would use,” he said. “I’m determined to play, though.”
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