Eric Reid will play football this season [url=]Nick Mullens 49ers Jersey[/url] , and for that everyone who believes in fair play should be happy. After all, the only thing keeping Reid out of the NFL before Thursday was that he stood — make that kneeled — with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco.Now he's a Carolina Panther, and for that he can thank new Carolina owner David Tepper. It was Tepper who signed off on a deal for the free agent safety, something 31 other NFL owners — and certainly not former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson — had any intention of doing.It was carefully labeled as a football decision, and in some ways it was. The Panthers lost safety Da'Norris Searcy to injury last week and Reid is expected to start when Carolina returns from a bye week to play the New York Giants.But this was also a statement that the old guard may be changing. And it could be Tepper, the hedge fund mogul who bought the team for $2.2 billion in the offseason, leading the way."It shouldn't have taken this long, a person with his talent. We all understand the reason why," said Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith, who lobbied his team to sign Reid earlier in the week. "This says a lot about the men and the leaders here. They're making a football decision, but Eric is also a great man and leader."Yes, it's only a one-year contract. And, no, it doesn't mean Kaepernick should brush up on his throwing in case another team calls.But Tepper clearly took a stand by signing Reid to a one-year deal, even at the same time Reid continues his collusion case against the league for not being signed earlier.And that was far different than Jerry Jones ranting and raving about what he might do to any Dallas players who would kneel during the anthem. Far different than the silence from most other teams when asked why they didn't sign Reid or Kaepernick.But maybe we should have expected it all along.Tepper showed early he wasn't going to march lockstep with his other billionaire owners on the issue [url=]Quarterback Nick Mullens Jersey[/url] , saying in a CNBC interview earlier this month that it was "dead wrong" to accuse NFL players of being unpatriotic if they knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice.During the interview, Tepper also recited the Pledge of Allegiance as a patriotic act, ending it with an emphasis on the words "and justice for all."In this case it's justice for one. Reid is one of the better safeties in football and is in his physical prime. To deprive him of a chance to play because he exercised the right every American has to protest was simply wrong.And, really, Tepper and the Panthers aren't taking a big chance. The same fans who threaten to boycott the NFL for player protests will be on their feet cheering Reid if he can bring stability to the secondary of the 2-1 Panthers.Still, while Reid gets some form of justice, the man who started it all waits for the phone to ring.Kaepernick has a new Nike ad and contract, and the movement he started still looms large over the league. But he doesn't have a job playing football, and could do little more than congratulate Reid in a tweet on his signing."He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me," Kaepernick tweeted. "Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need."The NFL still finds itself in a quandary about what to do with protests during the anthem. A handful of players took a knee last weekend, though the league has been lucky recently in being spared the Twitter wrath of President Donald Trump, who has used the issue to rally his base.One of those kneeling was Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who has been vocal all season about his reason for protesting and his view that the NFL needs to employ both Reid and Kaepernick if there is going to be any resolution of the issue."He's good enough to play," Stills said. "He deserves to play."He could play [url=]Nick Mullens Jersey[/url] , even back in San Francisco, where the 49ers could surely use an experienced backup in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo's season-ending injury. But whether Kaepernick will play depends on how enlightened NFL owners are becoming — and remember, this isn't a very socially enlightened bunch.Signing Reid was a necessary first step, but Reid was the easier of the two.It was Kaepernick who started everything, Kaepernick who remains the face of the protest.And Kaepernick who is still out of a job.Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at or ://timdahlberg There was a play midway through the Kansas City Chiefs' 38-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in which Patrick Mahomes eluded the pass rush, rolled out to his right and flipped a short, simple pass to running back Kareem Hunt in the flat.He had at least two other wide receivers wide open, too.Such is the nature of the Kansas City offense through the first three weeks of the season, and the challenge it has presented to a trio of defenses.Even if they manage to contain one target, or even two or three, Mahomes always seems to have somebody else wide open downfield."It's hard for teams to play every single one of them," Mahomes said Sunday night. "I know if I get through my reads there will be someone open. With the offensive line blocking so well, I can sit in the pocket and get through my whole entire read and find the open guy."That was once again evident against the 49ers, when Mahomes targeted 11 different receivers and connected with nine.Travis Kelce led the way with eight catches for 114 yards, his second straight 100-yard performance [url=]Quarterback Nick Mullens Jersey[/url] , and Sammy Watkins hauled in five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.But the breadth of the Chiefs' options was really apparent in the fact that Mahomes' other two touchdown passes went to No. 3 wide receiver Chris Conley and backup tight end Demetrius Harris.Even little-used wide receiver Marcus Kemp managed a reception."I've never played with an offense that good before," said Tyreek Hill, who had two catches for 51 yards. "Like I was telling Sammy, man, I'm excited to have all these weapons on the team. It's amazing, man, because a defense has got to worry about so many options."It's not just the quantity, though. The Chiefs have quality players at every position, and in most cases they have multiple guys capable of stepping onto the field without missing a beat."Guys everywhere," Mahomes said. "Knowing that I have those weapons, whenever someone has to get a break — we say if you're tired, get a break, because I know I can trust the next guy coming in."That's hardly a luxury most teams experience.Then there's the variety of talent.Kelce is one of the league's best tight ends, a capable blocker whose soft hands allowed him to spear a high throw on Sunday that few others could catch. And when he gets into the open field, just ask 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster how difficult it is to bring him down.On the outside are Watkins and Hill [url=]Rookie Nick Mullens Jersey[/url] , giving the Chiefs not only two of the fastest playmakers in the league, but also two of the most sure-handed.Yes, Hill only had two catches against San Francisco, but one was a leaping grab deep downfield between two defenders in tight coverage, while Watkins made his mark by catching slant routes in traffic and making guys miss.Indeed, his touchdown grab Sunday looked as if someone was running a gauntlet.When defenses finally try nickel and dime packages to cover the downfield threats, the Chiefs merely have the reigning NFL rushing champion in Hunt ready to handle the ball.He finally got into the end zone Sunday for his first two touchdowns this season."Coach (Andy) Reid has done an unbelievable job of creating these plays," Kelce said. "Right now we're just dialing them up and going out there and executing what's called. It's as simple as that. Not every single play is going to have one certain guy and that's the fun of it."It hasn't been much fun for opposing defenses."We have to do a little better in the second half," offensive lineman Mitch Schwartz said Sunday, "but we had nine possessions. Five touchdowns and a field goal. That's pretty good."Notes: Reid said Monday that he's comfortable with the Chiefs' pass rush heading into Monday night against Denver, even though outside linebacker Dee Ford hurt his groin against the 49ers. "I think we'll be fine there if (Ford is unavailable)," Reid said. "I know he was sore yesterday. For him to come out of a game is never a good thing. We'll see how he does here, but I'm glad we've had an opportunity to play those guys and give them a little experience here."