After four weeks of waiting, 49ers free-agent safety Eric Reid will visit the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL Network reported Monday.
Reid, 26, is a former first-round draft pick who started 69 regular-season games for San Francisco and who made the Pro Bowl in 2013. The 49ers, however, have earmarked Jaquiski Tartt as their starter at strong safety, which sent Reid looking for a starting job elsewhere.
His long wait in free agency has been attributed to a soft market at the position and to the fact that Reid has been prominent and outspoken in protesting racial discrimination and police brutality.
He was the first player to kneel beside Colin Kaepernick when the quarterback began protesting during the national anthem ceremony in 2016. No team signed Kaepernick last season, but Reid – along with Eli Harold and others – continued the protest, which gained new momentum after violence erupted in a Charlottesville, Va., protest and following incendiary comments from President Donald Trump.
Reid said last month that he would continue to be active in the social movement, but that he was unlikely to kneel during the anthem during the upcoming season. Reid spoke at the Stanford pro day of his younger brother, Justin, who is expected to be one of the top safeties in this month's draft.
"We understand that you’ve got to change with the times," Reid said of himself and Kaepernick. "I'm not going to say I'm going to stop being active because I won't. I'm just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country, to improve the issues happening in this country.
"I don't think it will be in the form of protesting during the anthem," he said. "And I say 'during' because it's crazy that the narrative got changed to that we were protesting the anthem. That wasn't the case. But I think we're going to take a different approach to how to be active."
Cincinnati's top safeties last year were George Iloka and Shawn Williams. The 49ers likely would try to re-sign Reid if he were unable to find a starting spot elsewhere.