Of Kaepernick, he said, “Anybody who has a basic knowledge of football knows that his unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field.”
Reid, whose contract with the 49ers expired after the season, met with the Bengals last month. No contract offer was forthcoming.
Reid was present at a meeting in October of owners, players and executives about the sideline protests, which several players were participating in, and which had drawn much criticism, up to and including from President Trump.
At that meeting, a tape of which was obtained by The New York Times, Reid said of Kaepernick: “I feel like he was hung out to dry. Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us. Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this. We all let him become Public Enemy No. 1 in this country, and he still doesn’t have a job.”
The N.F.L. Players Association said in a statement that it was aware of Reid’s collusion claim, adding “Our union supports Eric, and we are considering other legal options to pursue.”
The N.F.L. said in a statement, “We are abiding by the confidentiality provision of the CBA and have no comment.”
In November, Reid said that he knew that kneeling might cause him to be blackballed: “I’m aware of it,” he told The San Jose Mercury News. “I know it’s a possibility. I knew what I signed up for when I started doing this.”
“Eric played well for us last year,” 49ers General Manager John Lynch told The Mercury News last month. “I think he’s kind of stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet.”
Reid played five seasons for the 49ers after they selected him in the first round of the draft out of Louisiana State. He has started 69 of a possible 80 games and has one Pro Bowl selection, in his rookie season.