Panthers’ Olsen predicts immediate contributions from Reid

Then-San Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid (35) during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on Nov. 5.Photo Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers may not have to wait long for recently signed safety Eric Reid to make an impact.

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, currently sidelined by a foot injury, told Pro Football Talk Live on Friday that Reid could be ready to take the field when the team returns from its bye in Week 5.

“I think it happened at a good time bringing him in during the bye week,” Olsen said. “Kind of get a head start on prepping to hopefully be able to contribute really quickly, as maybe as early as next week. So we’ll see how practice goes when we start back up on Monday but I’m sure he’s happy to be back in the league and kind of have that behind him and we’re happy to have him.”

The Panthers signed Reid to a one-year contract Thursday. Carolina needed help in the secondary after veteran Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve last week with his second concussion in a month.

Reid, a starter in each of his first five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in May.

The 26-year-old Reid claimed at the beginning of the offseason that he wasn’t receiving interest from teams due to his decision to kneel during the national anthem. He was the first player to kneel alongside former Kaepernick as a means to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

Olsen said he briefly had a chance to Reid at the team’s facility on Thursday and said there is no question about his talent.

“Here’s a guy who can really help us,” said Olsen. “Here’s a guy from all measures of everyone who knows him, who knows him personally as a teammate and just as a friend, says nothing but great things about him and speaks very highly of him. Guys like Torrey Smith and those guys who have played with him out in San Francisco have nothing but great things to say about him as a person and of course we all know what he’s done as a player.

“So we’re looking forward to having him we think he can really help us and just getting another veteran presence in that secondary with some of the young guys that we’ve had come on strong this year I think will make our defense better.”

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Reid started 12 of the 13 games he played for the 49ers in 2017, when he had two interceptions, four passes defensed, one fumble recovery and 66 tackles. He has 10 interceptions, 34 passes defended, one sack and 375 tackles since being selected by San Francisco with the 18th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Reid earned Pro Bowl and All-Rookie honors in his first season after starting all 16 games for the 49ers and recording 92 tackles, four interceptions, 11 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He started all three playoff games for the 49ers that season, helping the team to an NFC Championship game appearance.