Eric Reid says he doesn't plan to protest during anthem, will take 'different approach'

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Friday, March 23, 2018

STANFORD, Calif. -- Free-agent safety Eric Reid says he is not planning to protest during the national anthem this upcoming season.

Reid has been among the NFL's most visible protesters since formerSan Francisco 49ersteammate Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the national anthem in 2016.

While Kaepernick was unable to find a job last season, Reid continued the protest of racial injustice and police brutality against minorities by kneeling during the anthem. But Reid said he would take a different approach in 2018.

"We understand you have to change with the times," he said after watching his brother,Justin, take part in his pro day at Stanford.

"I'm not saying I'm going to stop being active because I won't. I'm just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country. I don't think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem. I say 'during' because it's crazy that the narrative changed to we were 'protesting the anthem,' and that wasn't the case. I think we're going to take a different approach to how we're going to be active."

More than a week into free agency, Reid has not received any contract offers despite a record of strong play on the field and versatility that many teams usually covet. Last week, Reid said his protests are the reason he was not signed-- implying in a tweet that teams' ownership is keeping offers away.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch said the team is monitoring the market for Reid, but the Niners are mostly set at safety with Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward and Adrian Colbert under contract.

Reid said his agent has heard from a "couple" of teams but that money hasn't been discussed and he is still awaiting an opportunity. Reid has said he understands his activism could affect his employment, especially after watching Kaepernick go unsigned for more than a year.

"I said before, I stand by what I've done," he said. "I know why I've done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident that I did what I was taught to do. I'm just going to stay positive, keep training, keep staying in shape, and we'll see what happens."

Reid was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He has been a strong player throughout his career, playing strong safety, free safety and even some linebacker last season when San Francisco was short-handed at the position.

He has 10 interceptions and 36 passes defensed in 70 career games.

"Eric played and played well for us last year," Lynch said. "I think he's kind of stuck in a safety market that's been quiet. I would anticipate things starting to shake for him. We'll see."

While Eric Reid looks for a team, he spent Thursday helping his brother prepare for his pro day. Justin Reid is considered one of the top safeties eligible for the draft and probably will be picked within the first two days of next month's draft.

Justin Reid says he has visits planned with Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattleand Carolina. He also met with 29 teams at the combine but said no one has asked him about his brother or if he would protest during the anthem.

Justin Reid said he was prepared for those questions if they came and that he wouldn't protest.

"We each have our own beliefs," he said. "He felt like that's what he needed to do. I have my own ways that I feel like I'm going to go about it. I'm not as much of a vocal person in that situation. I don't really like drama. I don't want to deal with that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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