San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid said Tuesday night that a San Francisco Chronicle article intimating he considered retiring from the NFL at 23 years of age was inaccurate, and that it took comments he had made out of context.
"The media always finds a way to twist your words...they just want you to click on their article," Reid tweeted.
"Just to be clear, I NEVER SAID, "I've given some thought to leaving the NFL," he continued.
“Everybody evaluates their own situation as far as playing this game,” Reid told Chronicle reporter Eric Branch. “I’ve evaluated mine and I’ve decided I still want to play.”
The headline of Branch's story was, "Reid, too, mulled giving up football."
When asked by the Chronicle to clarify his comments and address any mischaracterizations, Reid declined through a spokesman, according to the Chronicle.
Reid, 23, has played two seasons and missed only one game despite sustaining three concussions. Two of those concussions came in his rookie year but did not cause him to miss any games. The third concussion came in San Francisco's penultimate game of last season. He was cleared to play in the season finale but told the Chronicle he opted not to because the 49ers were out of playoff contention.
Reid, a former first-round pick, was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie in 2013. He has 108 tackles, seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his career.
In March, 49ers linebacker Chris Borland announced he was retiring after just one season in the league, citing concerns about “the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.” Defensive lineman Justin Smith and linebacker Patrick Willis also retired this off-season, though Smith's retirement was not considered premature.
“There is a doctor that I’m looking further into and I may end up going to see,” Reid told the Chronicle. “Like I said, right now I’ve evaluated my situation and I feel comfortable playing.”
Concerns over head injuries in the NFL have grown in recent years. The concern is tied not only to concussions, but the many sub-concussive blows to the head that are common in the game. Many former players report suffering from memory loss and depression, likely caused by CTE, a brain disease shown to be linked to football-related head trauma. Several players, including Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, have committed suicide and shown signs of CTE.
In April, a federal judge gave final approval to the settlement reached in the class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL by former players. Approximately 6,000 players and their families will be eligible to receive compensation. The average payout is expected to be about $190,000, though players diagnosed with certain neurological and neuromuscular diseases can receive multi-million dollar payments.
- Dan Gartland