Defense is a dying breed. So is the art of hard-hitting and ball-hawking safeties. Still, fanbases like the ones that exist in Chicago, Baltimore, and Denver claim that defense wins championships. This year’s Super Bowl was a perfect example. The Patriots held one of the best offenses in the league to three points.
Ironically enough, one day before New England shut down the Rams in the Super Bowl with their thrilling defensive performance, a Baltimore legend on the defensive side of the football was selected to the Hall of Fame. That man was one of the best safeties to ever play the game, Ed Reed.
Going into college, Reed was scouted as a two-star recruit. Ultimately, Reed decided to go to Miami. And talk about finding a needle in a haystack. Reed was a part of the dominant 2001 Hurricanes team that included stars like Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, and Jonathan Vilma.
In college, Reed posted some great stat lines. He finished his college career with 288 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, 52 passes defended, 21 interceptions, and four forced fumbles. Most importantly, he finished his college career as a National Champion.
Despite starting off as a two-star recruit, Reed did so well in college that he got drafted by the Ravens in the first round, at number 24 overall, starting the great pro career of a Hall of Fame safety.
In Reed’s third pro year, he had arguably the best season of his career. Reed recorded 76 combined tackles (60 solos) and capped off his 2004 campaign with a career-high nine interceptions. Reed also broke the NFL record for the longest interception return after taking one back 106 yards.
Reed won the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award that season. All in all, the nine-time Pro Bowler had nothing short of an illustrious career. He helped capture Baltimore’s second Super Bowl. He was a five-time First-Team All-Pro selection and three-time Second Team All-Pro selection. Reed was also selected to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team.
Baltimore was blessed to have had Ed Reed play for their team. Ed Reed is the epitome of doing things the “Raven Way.” The Ravens have always been known for having a smash-mouth style defense and Reed embodied that lifestyle.
His legacy was undoubtedly left on the field. The city of Baltimore, and Ravens fans around the world, will never forget Ed Reed.