Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers talked about possibly changing his tackling style due to a concussion he suffered against the Panthers, discussed here. Reid cited the reason for the potential change to his methodology of tackling was due to the size and strength of the athletes in the NFL. The fact is that Reid, while an incredibly talented prospect at LSU, consistently put himself at risk of not just concussions, but possibly getting himself paralyzed and while it is incredibly important that Reid make changes, it is a case of being better late than never.
During his time in Baton Rouge, Reid demonstrated incredible range and an understanding of coverage and angles. He also had a reputation of being a big hitter, but how he sent that message was the problem. Reid would constantly lead with his head when he went for these hits, resembling the proverbial missile, putting it right in harm’s way. As a result, Reid would put his momentum and the opponent’s momentum all landing on his head and neck, so concussions were a huge concern, but really the least of his problems. He was at risk of injured his neck, his back, and potentially crippling himself in the process. This style he used was the exact type of hit that Jermichael Finley inflicted on himself when he landed in the intensive care unit. It was also the same way David Pollack ended his career in the NFL when he rammed his head into the shoulder of running back Reuben Droughns.
As talented Reid was in the NFL Draft process, this was a concern and something that needed to be addressed. It should have been addressed at LSU and high school before that as that is the type of style that ends up getting players hurt or forever altered. These are the exact types of hits that the NFL is trying to eliminate starting at the youth level. Hopefully, Reid can make the appropriate adjustments, tackle with his head up and be able to play a long and productive career.