Rookie safety hopes to play against Saints despite concussion
Three days after suffering his second concussion in the past eight games, San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid got some good news Wednesday when he was allowed to practice on a limited basis.
While it’s no guarantee that he will play this week, that was extra good news for Reid, a rookie from LSU, as he goes through the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Reid, a first-round draft pick of the 49ers this spring, desperately wants to get back in time for Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“I’ve been looking forward to this one,” Reid, a former Dutchtown High School star, told Bay Area reporters Wednesday. “I’ve been watching Drew Brees and those guys for a long time. This is part of my dream, to get to play in that stadium against Drew Brees and the Saints,” he said with a smile. “Hopefully, I can do my part and get a win.”
That looked iffy at best Sunday afternoon when Reid was injured in a scary collision midway through the third quarter of an eventual 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Reid was hurt when tried to bring down 5-foot-9, 245-pound running back Mike Tolbert, who was running upfield with a full head of steam after catching a pass. As the 213-pound Reid lowered his shoulder into Tolbert’s midsection, he took a violent hit to the left side of his head.
Reid, who also suffered a concussion in Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks, was sidelined for the remainder of the game. But he was allowed to do some light jogging Tuesday and was limited Wednesday.
When asked if he would be less aggressive in the future, Reid, who must be cleared by an independent physician to return to game action, said he’ll play the way he always plays.
“I don’t think you can do that,” he said of not being aggressive. “Nobody goes into a hit thinking they’re going to get a concussion, so in split-second decisions I’m not going to change the way I play. I’ll just continue to pray and be strong in my faith. Hopefully, this is the last of my concussion spells.”
In retrospect, Reid said he probably should have cut Tolbert’s legs out from under him.
“I probably should have gone lower because he’s a bigger guy,” Reid said. “Some of those things happy pretty fast, but the next time I’ll probably go lower.”
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Wednesday if he’d be hesitant to put Reid back out there after suffering two concussions in two months.
“It’s the neurologist, it’s the doctors,” said Harbaugh, who took his share of hard hits in a 14-year career as an NFL quarterback. “(You) trust their tests. I think we’re on the right track in leaving it up to the doctors. Leave me out of it.”
Harbaugh said it’s possible Reid, whom he said has performed well after winning a starting job in training camp, will likely have to make some adjustments to protect himself.
For now, Reid ranks second on the team with three interceptions and is hopeful he’ll can see how he stacks up against Brees and the explosive offense he’s watched and cheered for over the years — if he’s healthy.
“This is my dream … this is what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Reid said. “As long as I feel fine, and the doctors tell me I can play, then I’m going to play. It’s kind of surreal for me for me because now my job is to stop them after being a fan of them for so long.”