On April 20th 2002, Ravens GM, Ozzie Newsome called a young kid from St. Rose, Louisiana and asked him was he ready. Then commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, address the fans that the Ravens have selected University of Miami Safety, Ed Reed at pick #20. Me being a Florida State fan, I didn't like the player but I loved the picked because I knew what type of players he was watching him play my Noles. I remember telling myself that Reed would be a great player in the NFL and my prediction was 120% correct.
The Ravens are still a young franchise, only 19 years in existence but in that time, they have produce some great players. I was lucky enough to remember all of those years and it's two players that embodies what the franchise is about, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. After 12 years in the league, 11 with the Ravens, Reed has finally decided to call it a career and will began the process to becoming a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.
Reed started all 16 games his rookie season, catching 5 picks, instantly becoming a fan favorite. He finished his career with 64 picks, 1,590 interceptions yards, and 13 total Tds. Reed was a great safety but what made him the best safety ever was his knack for putting points on the board, whether it was from an interception or blocked kicked. In his first two season he blocked three punts, turning them into touchdowns. From then on he forced everyone from the quarterback to the punter to know where he was at on the field at all times.
Reed's intelligence helped him become one of the best play-makers in the league. His attention to detail and pre-game preparation were a couple the many factors that helped the Ravens produce the best defense during his time span. He would make HOF Qbs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Rothelisberger, and a few others rethink before throwing the ball deep. It's not too many safeties in the game who could cover ground like Ed, sometimes being the only safety back in coverage but able to cover sideline-to-sideline.
While Ray Lewis covered the middle of the field, Ed had his back, together they created the best defensive duo in NFL history. Both were recipients of the defensive player of the year award becoming the third set of teammates to win the award in back-to-back years, Lewis in 2003 and Reed in 2004. Combined they have made 8 All-Pro teams and 17 Pro Bowls during Reed's career. From 2002-2011 the Ravens ranked top ten in total defense and never allowed more than 300 yard/game. Watching the Ravens play defense was must see TV during that time.
Ed Reed will always be a son of the city of Baltimore. During the Ravens Super Bowl 48 parade, Reed ran through the city with the Lombardi trophy allowing fans to touch it. For those that were luckily enough to touch, that moment will live with them forever. Ed will have his name inducted into the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium November 22nd against the St. Louis Rams. I'm sure it will be a sold out crowd chanting “REEEEEEEEEEDD” all game.