The San Francisco 49ers picked up the perfect piece to an already established defensive unit when they traded up last April to select Eric Reid out of LSU.
Reid, the No. 18 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, made an instant impact during his rookie season in the Bay Area.
PHOTOS: Eric Reid's Rookie Season in Photos
After finishing third on the team with 77 tackles, the first-year pro was recently added to the 2014 Pro Bowl roster where he'll play for Jerry Rice's team. But before Reid was given the good news on his free trip to Hawaii, the play-making safety spoke with 49ers.com about his remarkable rookie season in San Francisco.
Here's our final Rookie Report of the year.
SUMMING UP A ROOKIE EXPERIENCE
It's truly, truly, truly been a dream come true. I can remember in middle school my email address was "NFLbound@aol.com." To be drafted by an organization like this and to be surrounded by the players on this team, it feels good to be a part of it. I'm trying not to get choked up. This is really my dream and what I've worked the majority of my life to do.
I just wish I could have played a little bit better, had a couple more plays where I could have done better. Maybe it would have changed the outcome of our last game. But I can't be more thankful for the guys on the team and the coaches who have helped mold me to be the player that I am now. I just see great things in the future. I'm going to take a little time off and come back ready to work to be better.
JOINING A VETERAN-LADEN DEFENSIVE UNITFirst of all, I have to give credit to God for the things he's blessed me with. Next, it would be to the coaches and the veterans. I couldn't have done this without them. I had great coaching since the minute I got here. Coach Ed Donatell picked me up from the airport, brought me to the facility, showed me around and they put me to work from that moment on.
I remember rookie minicamp, I was the only safety there. When there were cornerback drills, they were my drills, too. They had a plan for me. They trusted me and they believed in me. They put a lot on my shoulders for being a rookie and I appreciate them trusting me with that. I really do. It means something when there's guys like Joe Staley and Donte Whitner who have been playing this game for years and they're trusting a rookie with what they trusted me with. It just means a lot.
MAKING A HOME IN CALIFORNIA**
I truly am making this my home. It's a nice changeup to the heat and humidity of Louisiana. Coming from there and then coming here to the Bay Area, I feel very welcomed. The fans are awesome. The people who recognize me, they always show me love, win or lose. I appreciate that as well. I really am looking forward to building a future here in San Francisco.
It's a tough pill to swallow to lose that game to Seattle. I can honestly say it was tougher than losing the National Championship when I was at LSU. It's hard when you look at all the work the guys have put in, all the work that I've put in, all the dedication that it takes. People don't understand what it takes to be in the NFL. I know a lot of guys like myself, wake up at 5 in the morning and don't get home until 8 o'clock at night and that's on a daily basis. I'm going to take some time off, maybe a couple weeks, but I definitely look forward to getting right back to work. We've got some unfinished business to take care of.
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