Ron Rivera: 'If my name came up that many times, I'd buy a lottery ticket'

ByDavid Newton ESPN logo
Friday, December 21, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera knows what he would do as a player if he were chosen seven times for a random drug test as free safety Eric Reid says has happened to him.

"I guess there was something about some mathematician saying it's highly improbable, but definitely possible," Rivera said Thursday. "But I'll say this: If my name came up that many times, I'd buy a lottery ticket."

Reid posted on social media following Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints that he had his seventh random test since signing with the Panthers in late September. He put "random" in quotes.

Reid continues to suggest the NFL is targeting him because of his collusion grievance against the league. The grievance was filed in May by the NFLPA on Reid's behalf, alleging team owners and the league, influenced by President Donald Trump, colluded to prevent Reid's employment because of his protests against social injustice during the pregame national anthem.

Reid, the first player to join former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem, continues to pursue the grievance. He also continues to kneel during the anthem.

Reid's attorney and the NFLPA, sources told ESPN, are looking into the matter. However, according to the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL and NFLPA are not involved in the testing. It is performed by an independent laboratory.

"They can say it's random all they want," Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "Sometime it has to make sense. It can be random, but if you keep seeing the same guy popping up, what about [another] player over here taking PEDs, or whatever. You're missing out. You're testing the same guy."

Smith said he has been tested "maybe three" times since the season began, including the test every player takes at the start of training camp.

"I guess there's a small chance we can make the hit [winning the lottery] to make a million," Smith said of Reid being tested seven times. "They say it's random, but you have to add to that, it doesn't make sense."

Reid's grievance is scheduled to be heard after the season. While there isn't a lot he can say now, Reid made it clear he and his representatives are "taking notes" about everything that has happened the past few months.

Beyond the drug tests, Reid was fined $10,026 for his unsportsmanlike penalty against Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz and another $10,026 for his hit of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that resulted in his ejection, which Reid and Rivera said was unwarranted.

Reid also was fined $26,739 for his hit on a defenseless player (Tampa Bay's Adam Humphries).

Reid's fine for the Ertz penalty was rescinded by the league after an appeal. Ertz, who also was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the play, was not fined.

Reid still is waiting to hear the outcome of the other two appeals.

"I'm not concerned I'm going to fail a drug test," Reid said. "I've never failed a drug test in my life. It's not like I'm worried about it. But it's duly noted that it's happened. It's [like] stop and frisk. If I'm walking down the street, I know I'm not doing anything illegal, but that doesn't mean I should be stopped every time I go outside.

"I know what I'm going up against. I'm not surprised by this. This is some of the least shocking things that I'm aware of in this collusion case. So my teammates are more shocked about it than I am."

Asked how he can explain the seven random tests when the NFL is not involved in the testing, Reid said: "I perceive that the league is full of you fill in the blanks. I wish I could see y'alls faces if what I know becomes public from this lawsuit."

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