Panthers sign free agent safety Eric Reid to one-year contract

SHARE Panthers sign free agent safety Eric Reid to one-year contract

Eric Reid (35) kneels with 49ers teammates in Dec. 2017. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

The Panthers have ended Eric Reid’s time on the sidelines by signing the safety to a one-year contract. The team announced the move Thursday after placing Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve, which freed up a spot for the defensive back who had previously filed a collusion grievance against the NFL.

Reid, a 2013 first-round pick and former Pro Bowler, was one of the first players in the NFL to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. He started at least 10 games in each of his four seasons with the team, but didn’t receive a contract offer upon hitting free agency earlier this year. It was a surprise given Reid, 26, is in his prime and established himself as a solid starter in San Francisco.

Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith recently told reporters he was hoping the team would sign Reid. “I think we all know why he hasn’t received a call,” Smith said, via ESPN. He called Reid a “great leader” and “one of the best men I know.”

“I really hope he gets a shot,” Smith said. “He deserves it, and it’s not right what’s happened to him.”

The NFLPA filed a grievance on Reid’s behalf against the league earlier this year alleging teams were colluding to not sign him because of his activism, similar to claims that have been part of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing grievance with the league.

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