New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA – AUGUST 22: Eric Reid #25 of the Carolina Panthers kneels during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the start of the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

Panthers safety Eric Reid made sure Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson felt his presence in the first half of Thursday’s preseason head-to-head at Gillette Stadium.

With Watson taken down by Javien Elliott following a 10-yard grab, it was Reid who came flying in with a Macho Man Randy Savage style blow down on the 38-year-old veteran. On Watson’s head, no less. Reid’s shot came a good second after Watson was already down on the turf, and left the Patriots’ de facto No. 1 tight end down on the turf and reeling.

It was about as dumb a play that Reid, a six-year NFL veteran, could have made in that moment. It was reckless, dirty, and just plain unnecessary. It led Watson to the blue medical tent on the New England sideline, and back toward the Patriot locker room before the conclusion of the first half, with New England leading Carolina, 7-0.

It also came just days after Watson publicly called out Reid, one of Colin Kaepernick’s close friends and former teammate in San Francisco, for saying that the Players Coalition “pretends” about social justice.

Watson, for what it’s worth, was not on the sidelines for the start of the second half.

The “good” news for Watson in the event of an injury is that he’s not eligible to play until the team’s Week 5 game against the Redskins due to a four-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drug violation.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.