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Marty Hurney: Eric Reid improves our team

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid

The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent safety Eric Reid to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday. Reid, along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, participated in protests during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games to highlight social awareness and racial injustice.

Carolina's decision to sign Reid aligns pretty well with a new ownership group that seems to be forward-thinking and inclusive.

That also was true several months ago when no team signed him during free agency, leading to Reid's claim (and subsequent collusion grievance) that he'd been blackballed because of his decision to join ex-San Francisco.

Reid, 26, was selected by the 49ers in the first round of the 2013 draft and had remained unsigned until this week despite being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and remaining relatively healthy throughout his career.

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera have been open about looking for players to fill the safety position after Da'Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve. "He is a physical safety with good ball skills and play-making ability". "People who know me, know my character".

Reid is part of a lawsuit filed by the NFLPA alleging NFL owners colluded against him and have refused to sign him because he knelt during the national anthem over the past two seasons.

The NFL Players Association, which supported Reid's grievance against the league, sent its congratulations to Reid. And I don't think Reid's case is defeated by this. "He's a great player, a guy that I think we've all watched over the last couple years go out there and make plays".

Reid started 12 of 13 games played last season, registering 66 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defenced and one fumble recovery. "The only way I would personally be happier is if he ended up on a team that was on our schedule so that way I'd have a chance to play against him but I'm super excited for him". "So I don't see why a team hasn't signed him".

The Panthers (2-1) are on their bye week.