May/11/15 10:49 PM Filed in: Ed Reed
Ed Reed was the rare defensive quarterback who outfoxed even the best quarterbacks.
Reed, a safety who made nine Pro Bowls and five All-Pro first teams with the Baltimore Ravens, retired Thursday as the NFL leader in interceptions yards. He takes with him a Super Bowl ring and a reputation that could win him a bronze bust in Canton.
Reed, 36, studied and went against the best of his generation's quarterbacks during a 12-year career.
Of them all, the best he faced?
The first he mentioned Thursday is known to San Diegans.
"Philip Rivers was always tough to go against, I thought," he said.
Reeds dueled often with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, among other top-flight quarterbacks.
"Tom Brady, he's always a tough one," he said. "Him and Peyton (Manning). Going against those guys, the teams that they had, were always tough to compete against."
No surprise to me Reed mentioned Rivers first.
Not after watching Rivers scorch the Ravens four years ago on a Sunday night in San Diego, and not after asking Reed about Rivers afterward, and seeing the safety's rueful grin as he said, more than once, that the Ravens came to play but Rivers simply got the better of them.
No, Reed added, it wasn't surprising. Rivers was capable of outplaying anybody.
Of course, the Ravens and Reed had successes against Rivers and the Chargers.
But in the five games, Reed never picked him off. Drew Brees threw Reed's only interception in six games versus the Chargers.