Dynamic, prolific, legendary, and exciting are words often used when describing former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. After 12 years of punishing quarterbacks with the pick six, Reed officially retired as a Raven on Thursday afternoon during a news conference at the team’s training facility. General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Coach Jim Harbaugh joined him as he reflected on his stellar career and contribution to the team’s success.
“I’m very appreciative of my Baltimore family,” said Reed. “This is home. Home is Baltimore. I love the city. I love this organization. I hope I did more than I was supposed to as a Raven.”
A University of Miami prospect, Reed was the Ravens first round draft pick in 2002 and played 11 of his 12 seasons with the franchise. His drive and passion for the game was immediately recognized in his rookie season, as he totaled 85 tackles, five interceptions and 159 return yards. In his first five years in the NFL, Reed averaged 5.2 interceptions a season and scored seven touchdowns. After a dominating start to his career, it was obvious to fans and coaches that they had a unique playmaker on their hands.
“There are good players. Then there are players that are game changers,” explained Newsome in Thursday’s press conference.
Reed went on to make history with his quick instincts and rare ball hawking abilities. His legacy consists of numerous records that still have not been touched by any other player in the NFL.
- Super Bowl XLVII Champion
- 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- 9-Time Pro Bowl Selection
- 5-Time All-Pro Selection
- NFL’s All-Time Leader in Interception Return Yards (1,590)
- Most Post-Season Interceptions
- Most Career Blocked Punts Returned for Touchdowns
- Only player in NFL history to return an interception, punt, blocked punt and fumble for a touchdown
A special moment in Reed’s career was playing alongside Ray Lewis. Both Reed and Lewis teamed up to make the Ravens defense a force to be reckoned with, solidifying seven playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title in 2012. In that same Super Bowl appearance, Reed picked off San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his home state of Louisiana to seal the Ravens victory. Raising the Lombardi trophy with his teammate Lewis culminated both of their careers with the Ravens.
When asked about his relationship with Lewis, Reed jokingly stated: “Ray and I were like Mufasa and Simba.”
“I was just a young pup, little brother coming from Miami,” Reed continued. “I can remember staying at Ray’s house watching film and talking about life. That relationship with Ray and the countless hours of working out are the things you hold on to for life. I’m sure anybody who played the game would love to play with the great ones, and I’m honored to say that I played with him.”
Similar to his “big brother” Ray Lewis, not only was Reed considered a leader on the field, he earned that same respect for his service to the community. Through the Ed Reed Foundation, he supports outreach in both Baltimore and his hometown of St. Rose, LA. The foundation has hosted several football camps, fitness days, and annual fundraising golf tournaments in Louisiana and Maryland. Reed also adopted and developed a long-term relationship with Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore. He regularly visited the school and provided the youth with necessary tools to succeed (i.e., school supplies). In 2009, he was named the Ravens’ selection for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his outstanding service to the community.
During this time of unrest in Baltimore, he reiterated the need for accountability to the community during his remarks: “We are all one community. We all work together. We all need to be back in the community,” said Reed. “Even if you’re not an athlete, you need to be in the community…whether it’s corporations, go back in the community and help somebody. Talk to somebody. Talk to those kids because the kids are the ones that are our future.”
Today may have marked Reed’s final goodbye to the NFL, but it won’t be the last time fans see him. On November 22nd, Ed Reed will be inducted into the Ring of Honor when the Ravens play the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ozzie Newsome also foresees another honor: “The next time I’m standing next to him like this will probably be in Canton.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 6, 2015
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