Panthers didn't ask Eric Reid about protests or collusion case, and aren't concerned by those factors
Carolina GM calls signing Reid 'purely a football decision'
The Panthers made no attempts to ask Eric Reid about his pregame protests or his ongoing collusion case against the NFL prior to signing him this week, general manager Marty Hurney told me, and the team's ownership, management and coaching staff is not concerned with any of those factors as it welcomes the safety to their team.
"This was purely a football decision," Hurney said from a West Coast scouting trip, with the Panthers on the bye this weekend. "There were no conversations about anything other than football. Eric is a good football player who can help our team at safety."
Hurney said the team began assessing their need at that position after placing safety DaNorris Searcy, who suffered multiple concussions, on injured reserve. Reid's skillset fit their need, and sources said the Panthers reached out to Reid's lawyers and representatives on Tuesday. After two routine and uneventful calls, the sides began working on a relatively simple contract (one year for $1M with no guarantees and $900,000 in possible bonuses), with Reid flying to Charlotte on Wednesday and taking his physical Thursday morning to make the transaction complete.
Sources said owner David Tepper expressed no reservations at any point, and no Panthers officials spoke with Reid before he arrived on Thursday to begin huddling with coaches to get a crash course on their defense. No one inquired as to whether or not he will continue to kneel during the national anthem, and the team approached it as it would any other routine free-agent signing. The Panthers did speak with some of their players who have played with Reid, and were very comfortable with his character and makeup and believe he will integrate easily into their locker room.
The Panthers facility will be essentially closed this weekend during their bye, and Reid will be practicing with them on Monday with the expectation he could help the team in Week 5. Several other teams reached out to Reid this week, as well, due to a rash of injuries and poor play at the safety position. Reid remains part of the collusion case, along with Colin Kaepernick, with their legal team contending that both players were denied the opportunity to earn an NFL contract for non-football reasons, negating their ability to earn a living playing the sport.
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