Marty Hurney: Eric Reid improves our team

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The Panthers were looking for an opportunity to improve the safety position, and Eric Reid was looking for an opportunity to return to the field.

Carolina’s decision to sign former Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid was as simple as that according to general manager Marty Hurney.

“I definitely think he helps improve us as a football team and in the secondary. That’s why we made the move,” Hurney said moments after the Panthers signed Reid to a one-year contract Thursday. “He’s a very physical player and he’s got a real knack for the football.”

Hurney and Co. signed free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy this offseason to fill the spot previously occupied by Kurt Coleman. The Panthers liked what Searcy brought to the table alongside returning starter Mike Adams, but Searcy was placed on injured reserve last Friday after suffering a second concussion in a month.

Special teams standout Colin Jones and rookie Rashaan Gaulden split snaps in Searcy’s former spot during Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the Bengals.

“We put Searcy on IR on Friday and we got through the game. Then Ron (Rivera) and I talked first thing Monday morning about the safety position,” Hurney said. “I called Eric’s agent on Tuesday, and (director of football administration) Rob (Rodgers) started talking to him later that day when we were told that Eric would be interested. Then we brought him in Wednesday night.”

Rodgers finalized the player contract Thursday morning in the Bank of America Stadium football offices before Reid put pen to paper. Hurney was out of town, and he wasn’t working in the NFL when Reid was selected by the 49ers in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

“I’m on the West Coast visiting schools all week,” Hurney said during a phone interview from the University of Southern California, “so I actually haven’t talked to Eric. But the sense I get is that he’s very excited to play football.”

And Hurney, while leaving it up to the coaching staff to figure out how and how soon Reid will contribute, is excited about what Reid could add to a 2-1 team after its bye week.

“That’s something that you just let progress and let it answer itself. He’ll come in and take part in practice Monday, and it will be a coaching decision as to when they think he’ll be ready to go,” Hurney said when asked if Reid is capable of starting right away. “He’s a player who has obviously played at a high level in this league. He’s a very physical player who has good ball skills and really good playmaking ability.

“I think he comes in and helps our football team.”

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