Never let it be said that Eric Reid missed a chance to make a play.
When John Chavis departed LSU to go to Texas A&M, it left not only a vacancy at the school’s defensive coordinator position but also as the name and face of a now annual sickle cell anemia fundraising golf tournament at the University Club.
The former LSU and current San Francisco 49ers safety was already looking for a chance to involve himself locally in a significant charitable event.
Like he was leaping up to bat away a pass, Reid’s timing was just right.
The result: the Eric Reid Invitational, which tees off at 1 p.m. Monday at the University Club.
“My dad is on the board that helps put on the event,” said Reid, referring to his father, Eric Sr. The former LSU track All-American was the Tigers’ first champion in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, held at LSU in 1987, making them one of the most successful father-son duos in LSU sports history.
“When coach Chavis left, they were looking for someone to pick it up,” Eric Jr. said. “Dad asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said ‘of course’. It’s a good event and a good cause.”
Golfers will spend $250 a person or $1,000 per team to be part of the event.
They may even get a chance to play with Reid, who admittedly is much better at football than he is at golf.
“I’m learning how to play,” he said. “I’ve been to the driving range with some (49ers) teammates a couple of times, trying to pick up some pointers.”
Of course, the golf is secondary to the cause: to raise money and awareness for sickle cell anemia.
“One of the things I love to do is give back,” Reid said. “The fact that I can do it in my home state and my hometown makes it even better.
“Sickle cell affects a lot of people across the world.”
Athletes and non-athletes alike are victims of the disease. Reid noted that former LSU and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has the sickle cell trait (Reid said Clark hopes he can clear his schedule as an NFL analyst for ESPN and attend Monday), as do former 49ers great Keena Turner and his son.
“People in athletics struggle with it,” Reid said. “It stops you from being (physically) active, which leads to more problems.”
Reid had no problem jumping in right away with the 49ers after leaving LSU following an All-American campaign his junior season in 2012.
He’s started all 31 regular-season games he’s played for the 49ers the past two seasons, recording 77 tackles and four interceptions in 2013 and 41 tackles with three picks in 2014.
The former Dutchtown High School standout said he’s adjusted to life in the Bay Area. He’s putting down the kind of roots he dug back in Baton Rouge.
“It’s like my second home,” he said.
But there’s nothing like having this event in his true hometown.
“One of the things I love to do is give back,” said Reid, who said he hopes to start his own charitable foundation soon.
“I plan to do a lot more.”
A pre-tournament party is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at L’Auberge Casino Hotel. Players may bid online to have LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron join their foursome.
For more information or to register, visit brscaf.org,
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.