Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez dissect and predict Week 4’s Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys game. Recorded Sept. 27, 2018.
Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press

Eli Harold was as happy as anyone to hear the news this week that his good friend and former teammate with the San Francisco 49ers, Eric Reid, was back in the NFL.

“I’m excited,” Harold said Friday. “I’m excited. He got the chance he deserves. He’s a heck of a ball player. Should have never been in this situation.”

Reid, who signed with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, spent most of the past seven months out of football, a pariah to some NFL teams as one of the faces of player protests across the league.

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For two years, Reid and Harold took a knee together during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and other racial injustices across the country.

When Reid went unsigned as a free agent this offseason, he joined a lawsuit originally filed by Colin Kaepernick against the NFL claiming teams were colluding to keep him out of the league as retaliation for his protests.

Harold said it “sucked” to see Reid go unsigned as a free agent — Reid drew only minimal interest from the Cincinnati Bengals and his old team, the 49ers, despite starting 69 of the 70 games he played in the last five seasons — but that “ultimately he’s back where he wants to be.”

“Took too long, but that’s the world we live in,” Harold said. “It’s a lot of crookedness if you ask me. He should have never been in that situation.”

Told some people suggested that Reid did not want to play football, Harold said that wasn’t the case with his friend.

“Why wouldn’t he want to play?” Harold said. “I mean, it’s obvious. But I feel like that’s another way of them trying to make it seem like, ‘Oh, well, we did want him, we just didn’t know.’ Who wouldn’t want to play? It’s not that he didn’t want to play, it’s you guys didn’t reach out to him to play, and now, when y’all need him, so desperately bad, you try to flip the script and make it seem like something else that he wasn’t.”

Harold, who the Lions acquired in an August trade, has discontinued his public protests with the Lions, a decision he said he previously came to after discussions with his family.

He’s been one of the Lions’ best pass rushers so far this year and is tied for the team-lead with three sacks, and he said he’s looking forward to seeing Reid when the Panthers come to town in November.

“We were really pretty tight for those two years that I was in the protest with him,” Harold said. “Had a lot of conversations. He’s a great guy, man. He’s God-fearing, he believes in God, he has strong faith. It’s not a negative bone in his body, that’s why I’m so happy to see him back where he wants to be and where he belongs.”

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Injury update

The Lions, as expected, officially ruled defensive end Ziggy Ansah and tight end Michael Roberts out of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys because of injuries.

Neither Ansah (shoulder) nor Roberts (knee) practiced this week, and both players sat out last week’s win over the New England Patriots.

Linebacker Jarrad Davis (knee) and wide receiver Golden Tate (hip) are questionable for Sunday after both appeared on the injury report for the first time Friday.

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