Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid makes his return Sunday to San Francisco, where he and Colin Kaepernick were teammates and made headlines while kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial and social injustices in America.
Reid said he isn’t bitter about how things ended with the 49ers, but added, ”I just don’t forget.”
”Definitely the way Colin was treated, definitely the way I feel like I was treated there,” Reid said. ”The way they run the organization. Ask anybody who has been there.”
Reid let his emotions get the best of him last year before a game against the Eagles when he started screaming at Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins during warmups. Reid called Jenkins a “sellout” for no longer kneeling after the NFL announced it was donating $100 million to causes considered important to the Players Coalition, which co-founded.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera doesn’t think he will have to say anything to Reid before kickoff about keeping his emotions in check while facing his former team.
”Guys play for whatever their reasons are, and Eric has his own reason,” Rivera said. ”Eric will do what he does. He’s a professional. He gets on the field and plays the game the way it needs to be played.
”I’m not worried about Eric.”
Quinnen Williams provided a New York Jets fan a big-time thrill by helping a cause close to his heart.
The rookie defensive lineman visited the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in New York on Sept. 27 to tour the facility and speak with patients, their families and staff.
Allan Smith, a cancer survivor and Jets fan, was also at the Hope Lodge to film a video interview with the American Cancer Society to talk about his experience. Smith was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastric cancer in 2017 and underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy and had surgery to remove his tumor. He frequently shares his story with people dealing with similar situations.
Well, Smith’s ”interviewer” turned out to be Williams – who asked him questions for the video and then presented him with two tickets to the Super Bowl in Miami. Smith was stunned by the gift, and Williams happy to brighten his day.
Williams’ mother, Marquischa Henderson Williams, died in 2010 from breast cancer when he was just 12. She was only 37, but instilled in her sons – including Jacksonville linebacker Quincy Williams – a lifetime of lessons.
”It was amazing,” said Quinnen Williams, a global ambassador for the AMCS. ”I was so happy to do this because of my mom and what she went through. She helped shape who I am today as a person and this was a way to honor her and to give back.”
The ticket giveaway was part of the NFL’s ”Crucial Catch” initiative, a partnership between the league and ACS that focuses on prevention and early detection of breast cancer and other cancers. The NFL and its 32 teams will surprise fans this season and distribute 500 tickets to attend the Super Bowl.
RARE DEFENSIVE STOP
The Tennessee Titans put themselves into some exclusive company with their goal-line stand to beat the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday.
How rare? It was just the sixth victory since the start of the 2000 season where a defense either recovered a fumble or picked off a pass on a play that started with 60 seconds or less left with the line of scrimmage at the defense’s 2 or closer to the goal line to seal a win of eight points or fewer.
It was the first such win since the Super Bowl in 2015, when Malcolm Butler, now with the Titans, intercepted a pass at the goal line for a New England victory over Seattle.
This time, linebacker Wesley Woodyard knocked the ball away from Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III, and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey recovered for a 23-20 win.
”I think that’s a whole other level, though, to be in it with Malcolm winning a Super Bowl making big plays,” Woodyard said. ”But, man, that just goes to show this NFL, as long as you have an inch, there’s a chance for you to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s 99 yards away or if they’re on the inch-yard line, you got to go out there and play and leave it out there on the football field and let the game be decided in your hands by playing hard.”
The Bengals make their second trip to England for a game Sunday against the Rams in London.
Their first trip ended in a 27-27 tie with Washington at Wembley Stadium in 2016. Quarterback Andy Dalton enjoyed the atmosphere and was intrigued by the crowd’s reaction to what happened on the field.
”I remember we were on defense to start the game and our defense got the crowd into it,” Dalton said. ”They were really loud. The ball was snapped, and it was silent. Then they completed a 3-yard pass and the crowd went nuts.
”The understanding may not be there all the way, but they’re just ready for a good time and ready to see some action.”
ALL YOU CAN EAT
The San Francisco 49ers are trying a new approach to improving the in-stadium experience for fans.
Starting next year, the Niners will become the first team to include unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages as part of the season-ticket package. The new benefit comes with the first price increase for season tickets since Levi’s Stadium opened in 2014.
Fans will pay about 13 percent more for season tickets on average, working out to about $20 per game. But with that, they will get the opportunity to get all the food they want from a selection that includes chicken tenders, hot dogs, sausages, nachos, fries, popcorn, pretzels, candy, soda, coffee, hot chocolate and water.
”Our fan surveys, and those reflecting the entirety of the NFL, show that the food service experience is a key driver of fan satisfaction,” 49ers president Al Guido said. ”That insight helped lead us to this new model as a way to increase value for our members while providing them with the most seamless concessions experience in all of sports.”
The perk will only be available to season-ticket holders and their guests. Fans who purchase single-game tickets or buy tickets on the secondary market will have to purchase food and beverages.
AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Teresa M. Walker, and AP Sports Writers Joe Kay and Steve Reed contributed.
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