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Eric Reid's 2014 Training Camp Experience

Posted Aug 21, 2014

The second-year free safety shared his experiences in training camp and commented on his development entering the 2014 season.

What did Eric Reid's training camp look like?

Thanks to San Francisco 49ers team photographer Terrell Lloyd, we know it looked a little something like this...


Reid reported to camp with the rest of the 49ers veterans. The biggest difference for Reid this time around was his frame of mind.

The Pro Bowl safety was no longer a rookie when it came to the rigors of camp.

“I guess the difference is like being a freshman in high school and being a sophomore in high school," said Reid, who arrived at camp with a leopard backpack and a wedding ring as his most notable accessories. "You’re not the new guy on the block any more. Everything is familiar. Now it’s about picking up where I left off personally. As a team, we’re trying to get further than where we were last season."


San Francisco's defense got off to a good start at the first training camp practice. Reid lined up at free safety with the first-team defense. This time last year, Reid was rotating in with veterans as he was trying to earn a spot. Reid didn't have to compete for his role. He belongs.

The first practice of camp saw a highlight from this year's first-round draft pick. Defensive back Jimmie Ward intercepted a tipped Colin Kaepernick pass.

Before practice, Reid and some of the other veterans went through stretches to loosen up before a long practice. Reid's face here said it all. He's caught off guard by our photographer, but he kept a cool head about it. That's the young safety for you. He's calm and cool under pressure, or in this case, under the spotlight. Reid's just getting settled in what will be a long camp process.

"For training camp we wake up at 6:30 in the morning and we get back to the hotel at about 9:30," Reid said. "What’s the math on that? It’s probably a good 15-hour day for however long it is. It’s a pretty tough grind."

This was one of the many grind-it-out days of camp.

PADS ON // JULY 26, 2014

Tattered uniforms. Thud sounds from shoulder pads crashing into each other. Reid's used to it.

The first padded practice of camp served as a rite of passage, and Reid's left sleeve displayed the physicality of a football practice. There was a rip on the sleeve of his undershirt, but it was not a big deal. Reid stay focused on covering rookie running back Carlos Hyde on a short pass pattern.

The addition of pads was key to San Francisco's camp experience.

“I think the pads turn up the intensity for the offensive and defensive lines," Reid said. "As far as the secondary goes, it comes into play going against the receivers. The line of scrimmage jams are in play, and it allows us to be more competitive because you have protection on. It’s a good competition. We’re out there talking a little trash, as coach (Jim) Harbaugh likes to say, ‘Iron sharpens iron.’ If you’re not competitive with each other then you can’t expect to get better.”


Reid's new bride and daughter picked a good day to visit camp. The team's family day, saw the defense record four takeaways.

“In July I got married," Reid said. "It was great. I wouldn’t call training camp our honeymoon; camp has kind of stepped in on our honeymoon… Last year, they weren’t here with me. They were in Louisiana. It’s an awesome feeling knowing they’re at home waiting for me. Family means everything to me. Knowing they are here with me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

BATTLE THE QBS // AUG. 4, 2014

Kaepernick looked down the field at a receiver running a deep corner route. Reid noticed it and quickly broke toward the sideline. The 49ers quarterback spotted the safety lurking and decided to throw to his check-down target. Reid hollered over at Kaepernick and told him that he shouldn't throw his way.

Reid didn't speak brashly like this last camp. It's understood why. He now has the experience and is more comfortable around his teammates. So when Reid was in position to make a play against one of his quarterbacks, he was not shy about speaking up on the field.

“The defense and Kap definitely have a good relationship," Reid said. "The rivalry is on a play-to-play basis. If the defense breaks up a pass or makes an interception, we’re in his ear about it. If he completes a ball, he talks right back to us. So once again, it’s that ‘Iron sharpens iron’ mentality. We’re trying to make each other better.”


Travel day.

Reid and his teammates packed up for a week-long stay in Maryland. The itinerary included a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens and three more joint practices at Baltimore's training facility in Owings Mills, Md. Although it was a change of pace from the normal camp routine, Reid welcomed the challenge. He embraced the opportunity to compete against a top-flight AFC club in their backyard.

“We’ve been going against each other for what, 11 weeks now with OTAs and minicamps? So it’ll be good to go against somebody else," said Reid, who boards the team charted flight with sandals, sweats and a Gatorade in hand. "It’s exciting for us as a team. You get to actually hit somebody. It’s an exciting time.”


It's the first day of "Harb Camp," and San Francisco's players were quieter than usual. Maybe they were being good guests. For the 49ers safety tandem of Reid and Antoine Bethea, the joint practices gave them more repetitions against a different offensive scheme. San Francisco's secondary matched up for three days against a different set of receivers and a Baltimore passing attack that preferred attacking the field vertically.

Reid and Bethea continued to be a strong pair on the field. As Reid pointed out, the second-year player was more versed in the defensive playbook. Both players leaned off each other in camp.

“For him, he’s an eight-year vet," Reid said of Bethea. "None of these plays are new to him, it’s just the verbiage is new. For the secondary, it’s us getting on the field together and learning together – and I think we’ve done exactly that.”


Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ian Williams returned to the practice fields for the first time of camp. Just like that, the front seven of the 49ers defense was bolstered. On the back end, where Reid stands out, the first-team defense will likely feature two new starters in its secondary.

Reid is the lone returner from the team's Week 1 starting unit from the '13 season.

Besides Bethea, Chris Culliver is working with the starting unit at right cornerback. Culliver is one of many young cornerbacks asserting himself in camp. Reid said he was pleased with the secondary from top to bottom.

“We’re definitely in a good spot as far as the secondary goes," Reid said. "We have depth which is always good for a secondary. If we can get our guys making plays, it’ll definitely help our team win games and we’re looking to do that if the ball comes our way."

THE GRIND // AUG. 19, 2014

San Francisco lost its second preseason game, 34-0, to the Denver Broncos. Reid saw brief action in the first quarter. The result stung, but the veterans didn't dwell on the defeat for too long. There was too much work to be done. So that's when Reid got back in the weight room and continued his camp routine.

“Depending on the day, I usually work out after practice and get something to eat," Reid said. "And then you get ready for meetings because we have to watch the film we just put on tape. It never stops. You practice, then you watch practice. And then you wake up, come back and you do it again.”

UNTIL NEXT YEAR // AUG. 20, 2014

The 49ers wrapped up open training camp practices with one last Levi's® Stadium session.

There are two more preseason games left on the schedule and there are still critical decisions to be made on the final roster spots. Camp practices were competitive, but they're no longer viewed by the media in their entirety. It's now time for the players to start gearing up for the regular season.

"Training camp definitely gets us ready for the upcoming year," Reid says. "Once you get to the end of camp, everybody is pumped up to play a real game."

That real game is set for Sept. 7 in Dallas.

Reid is ready. The proof is in the pictures.