Similar to San Francisco's new left tackle Trent Williams, reunited teammate Jordan Reed is not only adjusting to a new team in 2020, but also to the game of football. Reed was forced to sit out the entirety of his 2019 campaign after suffering a concussion last preseason. The tight end has had a history with concussions that dates back to his time at the University of Florida in 2010.
Reed's past three NFL seasons have each ended on the Injured Reserve list. After missing nearly 50 games over the last seven years due to injury, Reed contemplated retirement, as he continued to struggle to recover from his most recent concussion – one that kept him in concussion protocol for six months.
The opportunity to join a championship-contending team was one deciding factor in Reed's return to football. The chance to play on the big stage after having made just one postseason appearance over the last seven years, weighed on his decision to attempt to reinvigorate his career in San Francisco.
"I definitely thought about hanging it up after last season," Reed said. "But when I saw the Super Bowl, that really ignited me again. I want to play in those big games man. God blessed me to be here and a part of this great team and gave me the opportunity to be in that situation. That's what's driving me. I love the game of football and I've still got the drive to keep playing."
Since joining the 49ers earlier this month, the team has taken precautions to ease the tight end back into football. For the first two weeks of training camp, Reed spent time conditioning with the 49ers trainers on the sidelines.
Once cleared to join team activities, Reed emerged as a standout in 1-on-1 drills. The tight end caught all six of his targets against the 49ers safeties across his first two sessions. During the team's scrimmage-like practice inside of Levi’s® Stadium on Friday, Reed hauled in one of the 49ers three touchdowns of the day – a 5-yard score in between Jaquiski Tartt and Richard Sherman.
Reed spent his first NFL season under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan with the Washington Football Team. According to the tight end, he's been able to pick up on some similarities from their time together back in 2013. The familiarity with Shanahan's complex offense has aided in his transition to the team. Additionally, the competition against one of the league's top defenses has been valuable in the tight end's re-acclimation process.
"I haven't played in a year, so I'm playing against the top guys right now – one of the best defenses in the league," Reed said. "So, it's definitely knocking the rust off, getting my feet underneath me and just learning the playbook."
As a complement to San Francisco's star tight end George Kittle, the 49ers now have another viable target in the passing game. Reed's most productive season came in 2015, where the tight end registered career highs in targets (114), receptions (87), receiving yards (952) and touchdowns (11). While getting back to that kind of production is ideal for all parties involved, both Reed and the 49ers are hopeful that a change in scenery will bode well for the veteran tight end in 2020.
"It's been just the most fun I've had playing football, ever, honestly," Reed added. "Coming from Washington and coming here, this is a big change for me. A big culture change. Everything is upbeat and positive. Everybody's doing their job to the best of their ability, and it just brings out the best in you because you want to fit the standard here. I'm grateful for being here, for sure."