49ers name Eric Reid starting free safety

  • San Francisco 49ers rookie safety Eric Reid (35) during practice at NFL football rookie camp at the team's training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, May 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — Veteran safety Donte Whitner has insisted all along that rookie Eric Reid possesses the skills and mentality to be a hard-hitting defender.

The hope is he can also fill the void left by Dashon Goldson's departure from the San Francisco 49ers in free agency.

Apparently, coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio agreed.

On Tuesday, they said Reid will be the NFC champion Niners' starter at free safety for the Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay at Candlestick Park.

And Reid, San Francisco's first-round draft pick in April, soon heard about the announcement from reporters that he had earned a spot on one of the NFL's top defenses.

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