Newest 49er got football skills from mom
Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:49 p.m.
Eric Reid, the 49ers’ first-round pick, inherited speed from his father. Eric Reid Sr. was a three-time All-American hurdler and an inductee into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Football? That comes from mom.
Sharon Guillory-Reid was a tight end and defensive end for the Baton Rouge Wildcats of the dearly departed Women’s American Football League.
“This was full contact women’s tackle football. And I had the time of my life,” she said with a laugh recently. “If I could go back and do it again I’d do it in a heartbeat.” Alas, Guillory-Reid’s pro football career lasted one meager season before Hurricane Katrina hastened the end of the Wildcats’ existence.
These days, the part-time Bay Area resident hopes her son can have a more lasting impact on the football field. The 49ers traded up to nab Eric Reid with the NFL draft’s 18th pick. Reid and his fellow rookies get to meet the veterans Thursday when an offseason workout session begins.
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound safety was a key member of an LSU defense that ranked among the nation’s best in points allowed, total yards and rushing yards.
In Reid, Jim Harbaugh finally gets the man he tried so hard to lure to Stanford. Harbaugh launched a determined, if quixotic, recruiting pitch trying to land a kid dead set on LSU almost from birth. (The Reids, both LSU grads, live just 15 minutes from campus).
Harbaugh refused to surrender, figuring his wild card was the former Wildcat: He tried to work through Sharon.
“His mom is a wonderful, wonderful person, and we really connected through the whole process,” Harbaugh said. “(Eric) was a very, very fine student. That was something that was very important to his mother. So I felt like we had a shot.”
They did: Guillory-Reid says now that she was so honored that such a renowned academic institution wanted her son that she tried to get Eric to at least make an official visit. Eric told her a trip to Stanford wouldn’t make any difference: He was going to LSU.
The defensive back went on to be a two-time All-America and a member of the All-SEC academic honor roll over his final two seasons. Reid became just the second LSU safety ever selected in the first round, joining LaRon Landry (2007).
Now, as Reid gets adjusted to the Bay Area, his first scouting report will come from Mom, who plans to use her knowledge of the area to get her son settled. Guillory-Reid lives in Louisiana but has been making regular trips to the Bay Area for the past eight years.
As a registered nurse licensed to work in several states, she has spent significant time at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, as well as at San Leandro Hospital. Guillory-Reid works on a per diem basis because she likes the flexibility it allows her in working her schedule around her family. So since 2005, Guillory-Reid has been heading out to the Bay Area for two- or three-week stints before returning to her permanent home in Louisiana. She’s scheduled to be here now.
“She has a ton of flight miles,” Eric said. “She can show me around here.” And, boy, was Harbaugh right about Sharon’s emphasis on education. Eric Reid and his siblings couldn’t watch TV until all their homework was done. And in the summers they had to read. Mom and Dad demanded their kids attack schoolwork with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.
“They’d be like, ’Mom, you ought to be happy I got a B,’” Sharon said. “I’m like, ’No, a B for you is not acceptable to me. I know what you’re capable of.’”
When Eric got to the age where he wanted money for things like video games, his parents had a three-word answer: Get a job. By 15, Eric was working at a local water park. By 16, he was a Wal-Mart employee.
“I told him, ’I don’t care if it’s four hours or eight hours a week between practices: You work. You learn what it means to earn money,’” Guillory-Reid said. “I got him a little car, a 2001 Honda Civic — in fact I have it right now — and told him that if he wanted to put gas money in it, he had to learn how to manage a budget.” Somewhere in that schedule, Eric played football, basketball and followed in his father’s fleet footsteps in track. Eric Sr. was the NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles as a senior in 1987 and he holds the LSU record in that event with a time of 13.50 seconds.
Sharon, also an LSU grad, played lots of recreational soccer, basketball and other sports — before launching her short-lived career in the women’s football league. Eric’s gridiron scouting report: “I only saw a couple games. She was pretty good.” Along the way, both parents taught Eric that there’s an academic side to sports.
“And he gets a really big kick out of studying playbooks and studying the other teams,” Mom said. “Mentally, he knows what’s going to happen next. He knows, ’If they do this, then, I’m going to do that.” On draft day, Eric explained that the discipline of childhood now translates to game days. There’s a reason his LSU teammates named him a permanent captain in 2012.
“I think I’m a very cerebral player,” he said. “I pride myself on knowing the defense. I pride myself on being able to get the guys lined up on the team, and being a great teammate and also doing my job.
“I’m very fortunate to be on such an incredible defense with the guys that are up there now. And I just can’t wait to get to work.”
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