Reid reveals most important lesson from ex-49ers teammate Willis

Reid reveals most important lesson from ex-49ers teammate Willis originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Eric Reid broke into the NFL under the tutelage of legendary 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. He spent his first two years in the league learning under the five-time First-Team All-Pro selection while the two were teammates in San Francisco.

During an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan at Super Bowl LVIII Radio Row, Reid revealed how a simple message from Willis ended up being the most important lesson he ever learned from the seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

"You got to do your job," Reid told Maiocco and Lee Chan. "You got to get it done. The team is depending on you to do your job. Don't make an excuse, don't be the reason that we don't get a stop; we need you to step up. I remember being a young player and him looking at me like, ' E, you got to do it. We need you here; we need you right now.'

"Whether it was a blitz or a designed play that I needed to do something. He is that leader that everybody wants. He makes people around him better. They feed off of him."

The 49ers selected Willis No. 11 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. The Ole Miss product made an immediate impact in San Francisco, taking home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and a First-Team All-Pro nod during his first season in the league.

Willis would go on to have a storied career with the 49ers, earning six All-Pro selections during his eight-year NFL career before retiring several weeks after his 30th birthday in 2015.

In addition to the gaudy numbers he posted -- Willis led the league in tackles in 2007 and 2009 -- the dynamic linebacker proudly took on the role as the backbone of a 49ers team that transitioned from a perennial cellar dweller to a bonafide contender during his stint in San Francisco.

During Willis' prime, the 49ers reached at least the NFC Championship Game in three consecutive seasons from 2011-2013, including an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. Willis earned First-Team All-Pro honors in each of those three seasons while also serving as the heart and soul of a defense that finished in the top five in points and yards allowed in each campaign over that span.

Despite Willis' decorated resume, the legendary 49ers linebacker has yet to receive enough votes to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being a finalist on two previous occasions.

That all could change on Thursday night, as Willis again is among the 15 finalists for Hall of Fame induction. Up to five players might be selected, and candidates must receive at least 80 percent of the vote to be inducted.

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