Several months after the Washington Football Team released Jordan Reed, the tight end signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, reuniting with Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan served as Washington's offensive coordinator in 2013, the same year the Burgundy and Gold drafted Reed out of Florida.
Over his seven seasons in the nation's capital, when he was healthy, Reed was by far Washington's most talented tight end. At his peak, Reed was one of the best across the entire NFL.
But after he missed the entire 2019 season with his seventh documented concussion, Shanahan knew he would need to ease Reed in.
Speaking with local media on Wednesday ahead of the 49ers' matchup with Washington, Shanahan said he planned to use Reed the same way another Bay Area sports team used one of their key players for several seasons.
"He was going to be our Andre Iguodala this year," Shanahan said. "We were going to bring him off the bench."
Iguodala played an instrumental role for the Golden State Warriors for six seasons, serving as the team's spark plug off the bench.
Iguodala was often one of Golden State's best defenders, and his efforts helped build a dynasty in the Bay Area. The Warriors won three NBA Championships in five seasons, and Iguodala was named NBA Finals MVP in 2015.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, things have not worked out the way they expected. San Francisco lost their top tight end, George Kittle, to an injury in Week 1, forcing Reed to assume TE1 duties in just his second game with the club.
After a two-touchdown effort against the New York Jets in Week 2, Reed himself was forced to miss significant time with a knee injury.
Reed would return to action in Week 9, but this past Monday was the first time he's played in over 50 percent of the 49ers' offensive snaps since.
"We kind of just brought him back into the mix," Shanahan said. "[Monday] was the most that he's played. Now, he's trying to pick up that role."
Reed's return to football hasn't gone exactly the way he or his head coach expected, but Shanahan is thankful he brought the tight end into the mix.
"It wasn't exactly what I envisioned, but I'm very happy to have him here," Shanahan said.