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Antoine Bethea: Eric Reid Wise Beyond His Years

After two OTA practices with the San Francisco 49ers, safety Antoine Bethea has closely resembled the man he's replaced.

Yes, Bethea is wearing No. 24 (not 31), but he's exactly one inch taller and two pounds lighter than Donte Whitner. Like his predecessor, too, he's a sure tackler that will be counted on to help in coverage.

Colin Kaepernick has seen another similarity.

"He has a very similar demeanor to Donte," Kaepernick told reporters after Wednesday's session. "He's pretty quiet, pretty reserved, but when he steps on the field, he's about business."

So is his new playing partner. As Whitner found in 2013 and Bethea has already learned in '14, Eric Reid is a quick-study.

Safety Antoine Bethea signed a four-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

"He looks like he's been in the league for more than a year," said Bethea, who joined the team via free agency, leaving the Indianapolis Colts, in March. "That's great, having somebody with that knowledge of the game to work alongside of. 

"Sitting next to him in the meeting room and talking to him out on the field about different routes, different defenses, he's well beyond his year. I am excited to play alongside of him and give him some of the knowledge I've (acquired) over the last eight years. He can help me out, being that he played in this system last year. It's going to be a good working relationship between the two of us."

Reid recorded four interceptions last season, ending his rookie campaign with a Pro Bowl berth. Bethea has made it to Hawaii twice, most recently in 2009.

He also mentioned Joe Staley by name (and said the 49ers have "the best front seven in the league"), but he's been most impressed by the teammate he'll be closest to on the field.

'These guys play some great ball," he said. "It's going to be easy for me to come in and fit in and the more we play alongside each other, the better we'll be."


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