Eric Reid has a message for his former team.
The San Francisco 49ers released the Pro Bowl safety after the 2017 season amid swirling controversy over his decision to kneel during the national anthem and his support of blackballed former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
When Reid initially couldn’t find work after his release, he joined Kaepernick in fiing a grievance against the NFL, alleging that league owners colluded to keep him out of the league because of his social activism.
He eventually signed with the Carolina Panthers after the start of the 2018 season and will face his former team for the first time Sunday when they travel to play the 49ers.
Reid: ‘I just don’t forget’
What are his thoughts ahead of playing San Francisco?
“Bitter? I wouldn't call it bitter,” Reid told reporters on Wednesday when asked if he was bitter. “I just don't forget.”
One of the things Reid doesn’t forget is an unexpected position change during his final season with the 49ers, a switch from strong safety to a hybrid linebacker/safety role during a contract year.
Eric Reid, on his emotions heading back to SF this week: “Bitter? I wouldn’t call it bitter. I just don’t forget.”
Also said he would not call this a “revenge” game, just that he is “determined.”
(more context in video below): pic.twitter.com/2A5wBEDPUv
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 23, 2019
“I remember they changed my position in my contract year,” Reid said. “I remember they released NaVorro Bowman, who led the NFL in tackles the year before, and asked me to play his position. So that’ll be on my mind when I get there.”
Reid upset how he, Kaepernick were treated
Reid also maintains a grudge over the team’s dealings with Kaepernick, who launched a firestorm of controversy when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence and social injustice as the 49ers quarterback. The two knelt side-by-side as members of the 49ers and remain allies in their fight for racial equality issues.
"Definitely the way Colin was treated. Definitely the way I feel like I was treated there," Reid said when talking about his emotions toward the team. "The way they run the organization. Ask anybody who has been there and they'll tell you the same.”
Reid has continued to kneel as a member of the Panthers. His reception in San Francisco by fans and his performance on the field will be noteworthy during Sunday’s game.
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