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Protesting player back in the NFL after accusing the league of colluding to keep him out

The Carolina Panthers signed defensive back Eric Reid, who has previously filed a grievance against the NFL accusing the league of colluding to keep him out. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

An NFL player, who had formally complained that he was being blackballed from the NFL for protesting the national anthem, has signed with a team, according to The Associated Press.

Eric Reid, a defensive back who was formerly a teammate of Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers, signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Kaepernick, the former quarterback who remains unsigned, congratulated his former teammate on Twitter.

"Congrats 2 my brother @e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract.," Kaepernick wrote. "He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need."

What made the Panthers sign him?

The Panthers had a need at Reid's position, and he has a record of being a productive young player. The team just placed safety Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve last week after he suffered multiple concussions in a short time, so Reid will likely start immediately.

“He’s a physical safety with good ball skills and he makes plays and he has experience,” Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney said. “He’s a young player with skins on the wall. He has played at a very high level. He comes in and helps make our safety positon better.”

The Panthers emphasized that the decision to sign Reid, 26, was strictly a football decision, and did not have anything to do with Reid's past history with protesting.

Reid was an All-Pro and All-Rookie player during his rookie season, and last season he started 12 out of the 13 games he played in.

The NFL Players Association, which supported Reid's grievance against the league, sent its congratulations to Reid.

"Our union is proud to stand by one of its strongest player leaders and we congratulate Eric for making it back to doing the job he loves," an NFLPA statement read.

One last thing…
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