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First to kneel with Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid feels teams aren’t signing him because of his protests

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San Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid (35) gets the San Francisco 49ers fans pumped during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on December 24, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Chuck Schilken | Los Angeles Times

Eric Reid was the first fellow player to kneel beside Colin Kaepernick on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem as a social protest.

Now both former San Francisco 49er players are free agents having trouble finding work in the NFL.

Reid made it clear Thursday that he thinks his history of activism is preventing him from a lucrative new job.

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous,” the free agent safety tweeted.

The NFL’s free agency period began Wednesday, with many players and teams unofficially making deals before then. But not Reid, who tweeted that he feels it’s the owners, rather than the general management, who are standing in the way.

He also shot back at a fan who said Reid’s move to linebacker during the season was indicative of his inability to play safety at a high level.

Reid has spent all five of his NFL seasons with the 49ers and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Last season, he started 12 games and played in 13, finishing with 66 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He played mainly at strong safety but briefly moved to linebacker due to injuries.

He has knelt during the anthem before most games the past two seasons.

Kaepernick, a former Super Bowl quarterback, started a movement with his protests during the 2016 season. That year, he started the final 11 games for San Francisco and put up some good numbers, throwing for 16 touchdowns with four interceptions, but he led the team to only one victory.

He opted out of his contract during the 2017 offseason and has yet to find work in the league.

RELATED NEWS: 49ers’ Eric Reid knows activism could cost him his job, fights anyway 

Late last year, Reid acknowledged that his own history with protests might hinder his job search as an upcoming free agent.

“I would say I understand that’s a possibility,” he said. “And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”

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