Ed Reed

Peyton Manning Congratulated Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed After Their Retirements

A two-time Super Bowl champion, Polamalu announced his retirement in April after 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In three regular-season games, all while Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts, Polamalu recorded one interception on No. 18, but his Steelers went 1-2. 

Polamalu does hold the edge in the playoffs, as his Steelers beat the Colts in their only meeting in the 2005 AFC Divisional Round. He had an interception overturned in that game. 

Longtime Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed retired a month after Polamalu and was a menace to Manning in the playoffs, recording three interceptions in two games while he was with the Colts. But Manning emerged victorious in both of those affairs.      

Manning had lots of respect for Reed, telling Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com that Reed was "the best safety in the league" in a 2012 interview.

"Shoot, you can kind of go on and on: unbelievable ball skills, unbelievable range, great hands," Manning said. "You can tell what kind of athlete he is because of what he’s done once he’s got the ball in his hands, returning them for touchdowns. Smart player, the list goes on and on."

While Reed was held quiet in their 2012 postseason meeting, his Ravens played spoiler to Manning's Broncos during the quarterback's first year with the team with a 38-35 overtime victory. Later that season, Reed earned his only Super Bowl ring.   

The Broncos signal-caller is no spring chicken himself. The 39-year-old is signed through the 2016 season, according to Spotrac.com, as he looks to add to his one Super Bowl ring he won back in 2006. With two of this generation's best safeties out of the picture, his path to the championship could become a bit easier. But it is clearly apparent just how much Manning respected them during their respective careers. 

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Ted Hendricks, Ed Reed selected to the Football Writers Association of America 75th Anniv All-America Team

Former Defensive End, Ted Hendricks and Safety, Ed Reed were the 2 Miami Hurricanes selected to the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) 75th Anniversary All-America Team announced Thursday.

Ted Hendricks made First Team and Ed Reed made Second Team – Hendricks a two-time All-American (1967 & 1968) at Miami, eventually converted to Linebacker (under Don Shula) in the NFL, where he was later elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Reed, a future Pro Football Hall of Famer, was a two-time All-American (2000 & 2001) and won a National Championship (2001) with the Hurricanes, in addition, he won a NFL Super Bowl (XLVII) with the Baltimore Ravens (where he holds the franchise record for interceptions).

Combined with Miami’s 2 selections, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had a combined 15 former All-American players selected, making it the second highest total out of any conference (behind the Big 10 with 19 selections). Pittsburgh led all ACC schools with five selections, followed by Florida State with 3 selections, and then, Miami coming in at third with the 2 selections.

“A nomination ballot with selected players from all FWAA All-America teams was sent to the entire membership this spring. The popular vote was then taken into consideration by a Blue Ribbon Committee of FWAA past presidents, current board members and officers. That committee put the finishing touches on selecting the 75-man team. In order for a player to be considered for the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary team, he was required to be on a previous FWAA All-America team,” according to a Press Release sent out by the ACC. “The FWAA, which was founded in 1941, has picked an annual All-America team since the 1944 season, making it the second longest continuously selected team in major college football.”

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Ed Reed says Ray Lewis is best Raven ever

Lewis or Reed, Reed or Lewis? Picking the best Raven of all time isn't an easy task, but former safety Ed Reed says Ray Lewis has his vote, and the voting public agrees.

The folks over at CSN Baltimore have been hosting a bracket tournament to let fans determine the best Ravens player in franchise history. With Lewis and Reed as the last two players standing, Reed offered up his opinion on who should win, although he didn't partake in the voting.

"If I did I would vote for [Lewis]," Reed said. "I would vote for my big brother. He was there before me."

The fans apparently concurred with Reed, as Lewis ended up the victor with 69 percent of the vote.

There's no doubt that when people think of the Ravens franchise, Ray Lewis is the first player that comes to mind. He was the backbone of one of the best defenses ever in 2000 and a two-time Super Bowl champion. Lewis already had six years under his belt in Baltimore when Reed was drafted in 2002.

Both players came from the University of Miami, and both players finished their time in Baltimore after Super Bowl XLVII. 

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Ed Reed on Ray Rice getting a second chance: 'I think he deserves it'

Ed Reed may have just left the Ravens when Ray Rice's domestic violence scandal broke out, but the two were teammates from 2008-2012, and it's evident that Reed feels a certain bond with Rice. So when Reed was asked whether Rice deserves a second chance in the NFL, he answered it from a different perspective than most who've given their opinion on the matter.

"Oh, man," Reed said at his foundation's golf tournament. "I'm not just an analyst looking at it, I'm his brother, too. And it's a tough situation on either side."

With that being said, Reed does in fact think Rice should get another shot in the league.

"I think he deserves it. I know teams that need him. But, at the same time, how we are as a society, how things are -- I'm not going to say 'blown up' because it is a very sensitive thing that's going on in our country and around the world -- but we're a compassionate, forgiving people. And people make mistakes."

Reed, who recently retired from the NFL after 12 illustrious seasons, says that Rice is another example of an NFL player being scrutinized more because of the sport he plays.

"We gotta really look at -- and I'll say the NFL gotta look at -- how they punish the players versus other folks," he said. "We make an example out of the football players, and specifically we make an example out of NFL football players, more than any other sport or any thing. It's like we're the example. Why is that? Why do NFL players have to be the example?"

The Rice debate is one that's been heating up in recent weeks, but it remains to be seen whether a franchise actually signs the 28-year-old running back. If no one does give Rice a call, however, Reed believes Rice would still be content.

"Like I told Ray, 'Keep working man. You deserve it.' But at the end of the day you gotta be all right with yourself. And I know he is. And if he never played another down, I know at the end of the day his family is more important, and he'll be okay."

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St. Charles Parish Council approves agreement for Ed Reed playground

It took some negotiating, but the St. Charles Parish Council came to a much welcomed agreement with the Elkinsville Cemetery Association and Ed Reed Foundation that will create a long desired playground.

“This will serve a badly needed area of St. Rose,” said Councilman Larry Cochran, whose District 5 includes the project, at Monday’s council meeting. Cochran said it’s an area he has long sought to revitalize.

Describing the area “as practically a recreation desert,” parish Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe said the foundation approached the parish about finding land for the playground. The agreement is the parish will provide an access road and sewer while the foundation would “build everything above ground,” including design the park with parish assistance.

“We think this is manageable,” Boe said. “We felt this was a really easy way to add recreational area without significant cost.”

With unanimous council approval, Cochran said the Ed Reed Foundation can hire an architect to begin construction. While the lease agreement needs Parish President V.J. St. Pierre’s signature, it is expected to be finalized by mid-June.

The council signed off on a lease with the Elkinsville Cemetery Association for $1 a year for 40 years, negotiated down from $500 a month.

Glenn Younes, executive director for the Ed Reed Foundation, said change was agreed to once it was understood the parish would maintain the park.

“We are so very happy, after this amount of time, to be one step closer to providing the families and the children of St. Rose with a safe public park and playground for them to enjoy and prosper within,” Younes said.  “We don’t just want to affect the public of today, but multiple generations for a hundreds of years to come.”

Retired professional football player Ed Reed, a native of old St. Rose, understands firsthand how important a playground will help to positively affect the children who live there, has been trying through his foundation for the past four years to make this project a reality in his old neighborhood.

Calling himself a “park baby,” Reed recalled what having a park meant to him growing up in St. Rose.

“It’s much needed, and I’m thrilled to build this park for the community,” he said. “A park should be in all communities for children to escape the streets. If not, the streets can take our youths in the wrong direction. I’m a park baby. There is no way I’m able to do this if it wasn’t for my dad bringing me to the park when I was young. This park will provide the children of our community a safe place to play. Thank God for this blessing.”

According to Younes, “Ed knows these streets, because he grew up in them. He knows without something like this to give these kids the opportunity to thrive and flourish in a positive way, they’re options become pretty limited.” Reed has been giving back to St. Charles Parish for many years with a football camp he sponsors every June in Destrehan and now work can begin on the park.The area along Second, Third and Fourth streets, and Short Street in St. Rose will eventually have basketball courts, a lighted walking track, public restrooms and play area for children.

Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier said she was impressed with the foundation’s fast response to resolving concerns that helped finalize the project, as well as Reed’s generosity, adding, she is “very happy he’s willing to give back to our parish.”

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Rod Woodson Says Ed Reed Better Than Polamalu

NFL Hall of Famer, Raider Asst. DB Coach and Former Steeler & Raven Rod Woodson joined The Norris & Davis Show to talk about “Deflate-Gate” and Ed Reed’s career and retirement.

No career Safety has  been inducted into the NFL Hall Of Fame in 35 years. Rod talked about whether Ed Reed will change that & compared him to recently retired Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu:

“I think Ed will end that. A lot of people talk about Troy Polamalu but, I tell them to hold their brakes with the Troy Polamalu talk…he wasn’t a play-maker like Ed.” “…doesn’t mean he (Polamalu) doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, I just think Ed Reed, to me, is a sure first ballot Hall Of Famer.

“I thought I did a lot of studying and I thought I jumped a lot of routes, but Ed Reed took it to another level. If it wasn’t for the injuries for Ed, I thought he had an opportunity to break the all time interception record.

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Does Ed Reed want a statue of himself built outside M&T Bank Stadium?

There are two statues outside M&T Bank Stadium of Baltimore football icons, one of legendary Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas and another of retired Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

Does recently-retired Ravens free safety Ed Reed want one built of himself alongside Unitas and Lewis?

Not so much.

"No statue, man, I don't think so," Reed said. "It's not up to me. I'm grateful to have played for such great fans. I don't need a statue for all that. I'm blessed I made it this far."

An argument could be made that he deserves one, considering Reed's credentials as one of the greatest defensive players in franchise and NFL history. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

However, the Ravens haven't made a statue for Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. And there's the practical matter of whether there's space outside the stadium for a third statue.

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Ed Reed heads into retirement after signing final contract with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Ed Reed came into the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, and now he's leaving as one.

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety formally announced his retirement Thursday after signing one final contract with the team that drafted him 24th overall in the 2002 draft.

"This is where it started," Reed said. "I knew this is where it was going to end, because I never intended to leave this organization once I came here."

Reed played 11 seasons in Baltimore before splitting time with Houston and the New York Jets in 2012. He did not play last season.

Now 36, Reed said goodbye to the NFL in a news conference at the Ravens training facility.

"I just knew it in my heart that it was time to come home," he said. "It just felt right to do it ... and I'm trying to get my golf game together."

It was important to Reed that he leaves as a member of the Ravens, the team he won a Super Bowl with after the 2012 season. Reed made dozens of lasting friendships with his coaches and teammates — many of whom were in attendance — and was also active in the Baltimore community.

"Home is here. Home has always been in Baltimore," Reed said. "I love this city. I love this organization."

Reed was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and his 1,590 yards on interception returns are the most in league history. His 64 interceptions rank sixth on the career list, and he owns the two longest interception returns in NFL history: 107 yards against Philadelphia in 2008 and 106 yards against Cleveland in 2004.

Reed was a star at the University of Miami when he initially caught the eye of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

"Ed was a game-changer," Newsome said. "Anytime there was a critical moment for the Miami defense, it seemed that Ed Reed made the play."

The same applied in the pros: Reed is the only player ever to score return TDs off a punt return, a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery.

"He would make the pick or make the play that we would need," Newsome said of the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder.

After signing the contract, Reed was added to Baltimore's 90-man roster. He was to be placed on the reserve-retired list Friday, making his retirement official.
Reed did not go quietly.

"I said, 'Ozzie, we need to negotiate this a little bit. Let me get three days, or maybe one year. I'm actually still available,'" Reed joked.

Reed will be added to the Ravens' Ring of Honor before a game Nov. 22, and it made perfect sense for the Ravens to hold a retirement ceremony for him because he never really looked right in the uniform of the Texans or Jets.

No, Ed Reed really needed to go out as a Raven.

"You're part of something when you come to Baltimore," he said. "I would hope that I did more than I was supposed to as a Raven."

Newsome, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, added, "Probably the next time I'll be standing next to him is Canton."

Reed said, "One day, I guess, I'll be there. But I never thought about making it to the Hall of Fame. I just wanted to be a great player for my teammates."

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Ed Reed says Philip Rivers among toughest quarterbacks

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.

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Ed Reed on Tom Brady: If you make decisions, you suffer consequences

While there has been no official word on how severely the league will punish Tom Brady for his involvement in Deflategate, future Hall of Famer and just-retired safety Ed Reed thinks the Patriots quarterback should face consequences for his actions.

"It's a lot of things that affect the integrity of the game," Reed said, according to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "We make lessons out of guys like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice when it comes to harsh things that affect the integrity of the game. That's what we're about protecting.

"If Brady made some choices, we've got to suffer the consequences. That's for all of us. None of us are perfect, but if you make decisions then you've got to suffer the consequences."

The issue is whether deflating footballs is a big deal. Yes, it's against the rules, but how much of an advantage is it really? Most importantly: Should it merit a multi-game suspension for Brady?

"It's definitely gamesmanship," said Reed, who spent 11 seasons with the Ravens. "For the players, it's about having an equal playing field. You heard about all the science and research. I played football with a smushed-up can. It doesn't matter to me about the football. It's whatever. We're on a professional level. We set an example. That's what it comes down to."

Also not helping: The Patriots' reputation for skirting the rules.

"They've been calling them guys cheaters," Reed said. "That's the news, that's the media. They've built that up around themselves at this point."

Meanwhile, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith put it all in perspective like only he can.

"I'm glad my name is my name and I have to deal with my issues, I think that's going to be on them," Smith said. "I don't really have time to be concerned with that. Whatever they do, there's going to be consequences for their actions. I could care less. I think Tom Brady could care less what I think about it, too."

Brady may not care what Smith thinks, but he's certainly wondering what's on Goodell's mind.

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Marvin Lewis should know: Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed among NFL's best ever

Marvin Lewis has seen more of Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed than practically anybody. The Bengals coach faced both Polamalu's Steelers and Reed's Ravens twice a year for 10 seasons (then just Polamalu's for the next two years), plus a 2005 playoff loss to Pittsburgh he'd rather forget.

So, coach, which era-defining safety was better?

"Unfortunately, they’ve both had interception returns for touchdowns on us," he told Sporting News on Friday, laughing as he steered clear of answering. "Let's just say the AFC Pro Bowl team was loaded every year. They complemented each other; they really did. They were exceptional at everything. What one could do, the other could do, too."

But we love to debate the big picture. So how do the Steelers great  who retired Thursday night  and the Ravens star who's likely played his last game compare to the greatest safeties Lewis has ever seen?

"I think in my time, they have to be held up there with the Ronnie Lotts of the world," he said. "All the things they did, that's what Ronnie Lott did. He made plays everywhere on the field and impacted his team winning football games."

Also worthy of comparison is Rod Woodson, whom Lewis coached as defensive coordinator of the 2000 Super Bowl champion Ravens.

"The same competitive drive; the same effect on every aspect of the game,'' Lewis said. Woodson and Lott are both in the Hall of Fame.

Lewis took over the Bengals in 2003, when Polamalu was drafted and Reed was a year into his career. In the next dozen years, he faced them 40 times — 21 games against Polamalu, including the 31-17 playoff loss. Polamalu had an interception late in that game.

He saw plenty of both even before the NFL days, when each was trying to impress NFL scouts. Lewis noticed Polamalu at USC in 2003 when working out the first player he ever drafted in Cincinnati, quarterback Carson Palmer.

"Just the speed, the athleticism, the agility, the short-area change of direction, the burst, his play on the ball, it was all there," he said of Polamalu.

Lewis saw much of the same from Reed at Miami, recalling that both players started as cornerbacks and changed positions in college — a momentous decision considering the direction NFL defenses were taking in response to ever-expanding offenses.

"That’s what sets these guys apart. The NFL has evolved," Lewis said. "You need to have safeties who won’'t be out of place when they’re matched against a wide receiver. They could do it. And they had a tremendous sense of the game."

That sense was earned and learned, not just instinctive.

"The study — these guys were two cerebral players. They’re two guys who took the instruction they get from the coaches and put it into play on the field," Lewis explained. "They were guys who not only knew it, but could apply it."

Their most notable style difference was where they lined up more often: Polamalu near the line of scrimmage, where his launches into the backfield became famous; Reed in deep centerfield, chasing down passes when quarterbacks figured he'd be somewhere else.

"But they both excelled at the other," Lewis pointed out. Polamalu, the big hitter, had 32 career interceptions to go with 12 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. Reed, sixth on the all-time career interceptions list with 64, had six sacks and 11 forced fumbles.

"I can remember plays Ed made down low, and plays Troy made on the deep ball," Lewis said. "As (an opposing) coach, you try to put them in positions they’re uncomfortable in, but with them, you can’t do that. They’re going to attack every ball, everywhere."

On top of that, he added, "when they got their hands on the ball, they could run a long way with it." Reed had 14 career touchdowns; Polamalu had six.

The two combined for three Super Bowl wins (two for Polamalu), 17 Pro Bowls and nine All-Pro selections. They shared AFC Pro Bowl honors six times and first-team All-Pro twice.

Lewis, having coached against such talent for so long, won't miss Polamalu and Reed (when he too retires). But he will remember, and he does respect. 

"There aren't two better players you, as a coach, would want young safeties to look up to."

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Ed Reed tweets that he is retiring in April Fool's joke

Former Ravens star free safety Ed Reed wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he has retired, but it was an April Fool's joke.

"Just made it official!" Reed wrote on his official Twitter account. "Thank u guys for all the support! #reeeeedtired"

Reed later added: "I just got a call from a friend, I was in pool with my son got tired and decided those that support me should know first,done #twitterfool .. Love yall! #beastworkouttoday #couldleadtheNFLinInts"

Glenn Younes, the head of Reed's charitable foundation, later wrote on Twitter: "My bro just won the Internet it's quite amusing."

If Reed does formally retire, that would clear a path for him to be inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor. The Ravens have said they want to induct Reed, but want him to be officially retired before they take steps to do so.

Reed, 36, hasn't played in the NFL since the 2013 season.

Reed is a 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. He intercepted nine passes in 2004.

He was drafted in the first round by the Ravens in 2002 out of the University of Miami.

Reed played for the Houston Texans and New York Jets in 2013, but was out of the NFL last season and worked for Showtime on its Inside the NFL program.
He played 11 seasons for the Ravens before signing with the Texans and then the Jets.

Reed was a consensus All-American in college at Miami.

Reed scored 13 touchdowns with the Ravens on three blocked punts, one punt return, two fumble returns and seven interception returns.

For his career, Reed had 64 interceptions, 643 tackles, 11 forced fumbles and six sacks.

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Ravens would love to induct Ed Reed into Ring of Honor in 2015

Heading into their 20th season in Baltimore, the Ravens would like nothing more than to honor the player who wore their No. 20 for 11 years. But first, they’d like to make sure that player is retired.

Team president Dick Cass acknowledged that the Ravens would like to induct Ed Reed into the team’s Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium during the 2015 season. But team officials wouldn’t want to do that until they know Reed isn’t planning a return to the NFL.

Now 36 years old, Reed hasn’t played since he ended the 2013 season with the New York Jets after he was released by the Houston Texans. However, the mercurial safety has indicated several times on his Twitter page that he’s still working out and preparing to play.

“Ed Reed will be in our Ring of Honor, obviously. He’s going to be in the Hall of Fame,” Cass said. “The question is, he hasn’t officially retired yet. I don’t know if he’s going to officially retire this year or not. I would love to get him in to our Ring of Honor this year. It’s our 20th season.

"He belongs there, obviously. Our fans would love to see him. We would love to do it this year, but in some sense, it’s in his court. He knows that we want him in our Ring of Honor.”

Reed, who the Ravens took with the 24th overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft, was selected to nine Pro Bowls. He was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, and was recognized as a first-team All Pro five times. 

He set a franchise record with 61 career regular-season interceptions.

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Texans take Wilfork despite their Ed Reed misadventure

On one hand, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork presents the Texans with a completely different set of circumstances than did safety Ed Reed.  On the other hand, the similarities are sufficient to make Texans fans worry a little.  Or a lot.

Two years ago, the Texans pounced on free-agent safety Ed Reed, who left the Ravens after winning a Super Bowl in his 11th NFL season.  A pre-existing hip problem that the Texans apparently didn’t notice when giving him a physical resulted in surgery before he ever suited up once for Houston.  Reed was released during the season after getting $5 million guaranteed.

On Monday, the Texans signed free-agent defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who left the Patriots after winning a Super Bowl in his 11th NFL season.  Surely, the Texans poked and prodded the big guy in order to be sure that he won’t suddenly need to have one of his body parts surgically repaired now that he, like Reed, has gotten $5 million guaranteed.

Sandwiched between the two veterans was a No. 1 overall pick who apparently had a pre-existing need for hernia surgery that may or may not have been noticed by team doctors.

Bottom line?  If the team doctors missed any problems with Wilfork, the Texans eventually may be getting new team doctors.

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Ed Reed: In Baltimore we don’t like the Patriots, but we respect them

Ed Reed, the longtime Ravens safety who’s now retired and an analyst on Inside the NFL, says there’s not a lot of love for the Patriots in Baltimore. But there is respect.

Reed said after the Spygate and Deflategate controversies don’t change the fact that the Patriots are a great team — perhaps the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport — and that the Ravens respect the Patriots even while disliking them.

“I played against these guys continuously and we never really talked about the cheating part. I mean it comes up, but in Baltimore, we didn’t like the guys,” he said. “But you respected them. You had the utmost respect for those guys because at the end of the day it comes down to football. It comes down to between those lines and execution, and those guys execute to a T.”

Tom Brady was once fined $10,000 for kicking Reed, so it’s not surprising that Reed doesn’t like him. But at this point, just about everyone in the NFL has at least a grudging respect for the Patriots.

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Ed Reed: Could Partying With Justin Bieber Hurt Patriots Vs. Chargers?

Ed Reed isn’t a Belieber.

Reed originally penciled in the New England Patriots for a win over the San Diego Chargers, but he has since changed course. The longtime safety wonders whether partying with Justin Bieber this week could doom New England’s chances at Qualcomm Stadium.

Reed obviously was joking. In fact, he didn’t even seem 100 percent sold on picking the Chargers while breaking down Sunday’s matchup with Boomer Esiason and Michael Irvin earlier this week on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” Bieber hanging out with Rob Gronkowski and Co. certainly doesn’t bode well for the Patriots, though. The last three teams Bieber visited all lost shortly after his hangout.

“Though Belichick and that defense and (Tom) Brady and them, I know they’re mad in San Diego right now (following a loss to the Green Bay Packers), the last team to party or do anything like that with Justin Bieber, they lost,” Reed said, laughing.

The Patriots certainly won’t be giggling if the Bieber curse holds true.

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Any Chance Ed Reed Comes Back To Ravens?

No chance. The difference between Reed and the Brett Keisel and James Harrison pickups is those Steelers defenders still showed flashes they could play last season. In 2013, Reed was nowhere close to being the ball hawk who struck fear into quarterbacks for more than a decade. Remember when he misplayed the ball on Joe Flacco 's 66-yard touchdown bomb in Baltimore last year? It says a lot that the Houston Texans decided to part ways with Reed 10 weeks into the season after giving him $6 million guaranteed. As I've written previously, Reed should come back to the Ravens. But it should only be to sign a one-day contract with the team so he can retire as a Raven.

Reed will go down as one of the more underrated leaders in Ravens history. Ray Lewis was the face of the franchise and did his pregame schtick in the huddle for all of the cameras to see each week. But Reed was an influential leader behind the scenes. Many in that locker room considered him their big brother. That being said, the Ravens shouldn't bring him back in any kind of mentor/coaching capacity. Reed is too much of a loose cannon. While he'll go down as one of the top three players to ever suit up for the Ravens, he'll also be remembered as one of the biggest headaches in franchise history. In his last three years with the Ravens, Reed publicly called out Flacco for being rattled in a playoff game, refused to show up for a mandatory minicamp (and then taunted team officials via Twitter about it) and was among the dissenting voices when coach John Harbaugh announced the team was going to have a full-contact practice during the bye week in 2012. The Ravens will undoubtedly put Reed in their Ring of Honor. They just don't want him anywhere near their locker room on a daily basis.

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Ravens suffering from Ed Reed aftereffect

When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Markus Wheaton for a 47-yard touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh's 43-23 win, it was yet another example of how teams continue to test the Baltimore Ravens with the deep pass.

This isn't just a recent occurrence. Quarterbacks have been looking for the big play against the Ravens ever since Ed Reed stopped patrolling their secondary. Call it the Reed aftereffect.

For all of the risk-taking and freelancing that Reed did, he struck fear in quarterbacks because of his ability to pick off passes and return them for touchdowns. But there has been no second-guessing for passers these days when throwing deep against the likes of Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks or whoever else the Ravens line up in the back end.

For comparison:
• In Reed's 11 seasons, the Ravens allowed 19 completions (tied for the eighth-fewest) and eight touchdowns on passes that traveled at least 40 yards in the air.
• In 25 games without him, the Ravens have given up 12 such throws (most in the NFL in that span) and six touchdowns (tied for the most).

This isn't to suggest the Ravens should bring back Reed. He showed last season with Houston and the New York Jets that he's not close to being the same playmaker. There's little chance that Reed is going to make a James Harrison-type comeback.

But the Ravens do have to find some solution to stop the deep throws. This season against the Ravens, quarterbacks are 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) on passes of 40 yards or longer for a perfect passer rating (158.3).

And these big plays have come at critical times for the Ravens. There was the 77-yard winning touchdown catch by Bengals receiver A.J. Green in the season opener, and a 53-yard reception by Mohamed Sanu that set up the winning touchdown Oct. 26 in Cincinnati.

The Ravens have tried to find the right combination. Seven players have lined up at safety this season, and five have been on the field for at least 90 defensive snaps.

"The best players play, to me, and the best players are the players who are playing the best," coach John Harbaugh said. "When some player expresses himself as being the best player by how he plays, he’ll be out there permanently. Until that happens, nobody is given anything."

Elam and Stewart are strong safeties who play better when closer to the line of scrimmage. Brooks, a rookie third-round pick, is better in coverage but was inactive Sunday against the Steelers, a week after giving up that pass to Sanu. And Will Hill, who made his first start Sunday, hasn't made the immediate impact that some anticipated.

Harbaugh said his defensive backs aren't being as disciplined with their technique as they need to be. Their eyes aren't in the right spot. They've misplayed balls. They've missed tackles.

"We’re looking for the right combination, but I think that’s a little overrated," Harbaugh said. "I think it’s the best players. You want to play in that secondary? Step up and practice and play well and step up in the game and make plays and be in the right spot. And that’s what we’re looking for guys to do.”

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Ed Reed honored

Former NFL football standout Ed Reed, a St. Rose native, was honored recently by several members of the St. Charles community for his outstanding contributions to community projects.

The Destrehan High graduate was honored by DHS football coaches and players for sponsoring the annual Ed Reed football camp, the annual high school football jamboree and for his donations for the renovation of the Wildcats weight room. The school retired his No. 20 jersey.

He also was recognized by Dynasty Barber Shop for contributions for haircuts for children for back to school. Reed also was honored by Rise 2 Royalty Inc., a west St. Charles charity, for helping the group provide school supplies and belts for Luling Elementary students.

Reed recently joined the cast of Showtime's "Inside the NFL." He also was inducted into WGNO-TV Friday Night Football's Hall of Fame.

Reed, a safety, played college football for the University of Miami, where he was a two-time consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft and played 11 seasons for the Ravens before signing with the Texans, and later the Jets in 2013.

Reed's former football coach Stephen Robicheaux said, "It is through his exemplary example that we have learned lifelong lessons that continue to mold our idea of success."

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How Ed Reed is still helping the Jets

Ed Reed spent the final six weeks of the 2013 season with the Jets. The veteran safety’s impact on the field was minimal, but the Jets say they are a better team this year for having Reed around.

“I think he rubbed off on a lot of people in that [locker] room and not just defensive backs,” said defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, who also coached Reed in Baltimore. “It was linebackers. It was D linemen. It was about, ‘Hey, Ed Reed says something. He’s won. He knows. He’s going to the Hall of Fame in five years.’ It was what we were looking for. You can see the carryover now from that impact.”

Thurman said the Jets brought in Reed to educate the younger players on taking ownership over the defense.

“Just bringing Ed in was something that we felt we needed to do from an overall perspective to help guys understand a standard that we’re trying to get to,” Thurman said. “He wasn’t the same Ed Reed we had in Baltimore, obviously.

“But it is a standard of defense, a standard of preparation, a standard of understanding of how to put things and take ownership of it. The preparation, the film study, practice is not over when we’re having walkthrough – leave your backpacks on the sideline – all the little things that make up of taking ownership of a certain unit. That is why he was brought in. It wasn’t about him being the same player. It was about helping us to establish a standard of defense that will take the New York Jets a long way as it has done in Baltimore.”

Antonio Allen was the player who saw his playing time dwindle the most with Reed’s arrival and admitted it frustrated him.

“I don’t think he was real happy with it,” Thurman said.

But Allen said he learned a lot from Reed, including how to study film better and what to expect from offenses.

“The New York Jets should be happy that Ed Reed walked into this building,” Thurman said. “I believe he rubbed off on all those young defensive backs.”

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proCanes.com EXCLUSIVE Preview of FoxSports.com Article Running TOMORROW on the 2001 Hurricanes

A message from Aaron Torres of FoxSports.com:

“They’re the greatest team of all-time.”

It’s a statement we often hear about the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, both by fans, and the media members who cover college football as well.

But after hearing it earlier this year, a light-bulb went off in my head: Just about everyone seems to have an opinion the 2001 ‘Canes, except Miami’s former players and coaches themselves.

And from there, another thought immediately popped into my head: What if I tracked down as many Hurricanes players and coaches from that 2001 season as I could, interviewed them, and asked what they thought about their team, and where they rank in college football history.

How awesome would that be?

Well, six months later, the answer was “spectacular” and after collecting interviews with roughly 50 former players and coaches, an article, the definitive article on the greatest team in the history of college football will run on FoxSports.com on Wednesday.

If you’re a ‘Canes fan (which I have to imagine you are if you’re reading this website), I can promise you that you can enjoy the article.

But here’s the thing: During the process of reporting the article, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who shared the same passion for the 2001 ‘Canes. As it turned out, one of the former players I interviewed, Najeh Davenport, also shared that passion, and like me wanted to tell the world his team’s story. Najeh recently released a documentary about the team, titled ‘The U: Reloaded’ which premiered last month. Through Najeh, I met his business partner Platon, who runs things here at ProCanes.com.

And it was through my friendship with Platon, that we’ve decided to give Miami fans a treat. Before the article runs in full on Wednesday, Platon was nice enough to offer up his space here on proCanes.com, to run an excerpt. It’s a treat for all you diehard ‘Canes fans, and proCanes is the only place that you can read this exclusive excerpt.

Of course the article will still run in its entirety Wednesday, and if you enjoy what you read here, be sure to check out the article on FoxSports.com. You can also follow on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, where I’ll post the link once it goes live.

In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from the article….

In the excerpt, we pick things up shortly after Larry Coker was hired as head coach, as the team prepared for the 2001 season.

As you’ll learn however, it really didn’t matter who the Hurricanes had hired as head coach. The team was not going to be denied the title that had eluded them the year before.

Again, enjoy and be sure to look for the full article on Wednesday.

The final, and arguably most important piece to the 2001 team was set: Miami had its head coach.

Now it was time to get to work. A team that had been denied a shot at a National Championship the season before, was not going to allow that to happen again.

Joaquin Gonzalez (senior, offensive tackle): The one thing I remember going into 2001 was, Larry Coker and his staff, as well as the players decided that we weren’t going to leave the decision on who plays for the championship on anyone else’s plate but our own. 

Brett Romberg (junior, center): (Our mindset was) ‘This year it ain’t gonna be decided on a poll or whatever kind of computer analysis.’ We were worked up, ready to get back at it.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): If you’re going to say you’re a champion, earn it. Don’t leave it to a voter; don’t leave it to anything to chance.’

D.J. Williams (sophomore, linebacker): It was great to be there with Butch, but when he left our plan didn’t change.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): We were anxious to get back at it. We didn’t want downtime. Usually you’re excited to get back home, brag ‘We just won the Sugar Bowl’ but we didn’t want that. We were like, ‘Let’s get back in the weight room, and get after it.

Ed Reed (senior, safety): When we got back to Miami to start spring football … my God. That spring before that National Championship year, those off-season workouts, it was like no other in the world.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): That was our DNA (to work hard). That is part of our system. It wasn’t talent-driven, it was work-ethic driven.

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): I don’t feel like we get ever get credit for our work ethic. I played six years in the NFL and the hardest I ever worked was at Miami. Those summers were treacherous.

Frank Gore (freshman, running back): My first day I get there, we were doing agilities with the linebackers; I’m competing with Chris Campbell, God rest his soul, and I’m like ‘Man, I think I made the wrong decision.’ I’m the top (high school) running back, how is a linebacker beating me in agilities?

Clinton Portis (junior, running back): We competed in everything! We all wanted to be the fastest player, we all wanted to be the best basketball player, we all wanted to be the highest jumper, we all wanted to be the best at everything we did.

Antrel Rolle (freshman, cornerback): The way we practiced, it was insane. I’ll be honest with you, it was literally insane. You would think that we did not like each other, on the field, off the field.

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): It was just a machine. It was a machine but we were just so afraid to have failure.

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): Andreu Swasey said this all the time: The players were always around. They were always around us, always around the office. It’d be Friday night, Saturday morning, they’d be around, they’d want to want watch more film, and we couldn’t get rid of these guys for nothing. Their whole lives revolved around this little football team.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): Soon after I was hired by Larry (as defensive backs coach in 2001) I was in my office working on a Saturday and I saw one of my players come by, then I saw another one. Over the course of the morning several guys stopped up and were talking. And I thought it was odd. I asked one of them, ‘What are you doing here on a Saturday morning?’ And one of them just looked at me and tilted his head and was like ‘Coach, this is just what we do.’

Mike Rumph (senior, cornerback): People didn’t see the Saturdays where we met up as a team (in the off-season). Or the meetings we’d have 6 in the morning, where there were no coaches there.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., no matter how hung-over you were, you are in the field.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): Over the course of the morning several guys stopped up and were talking. And I thought it was odd. I asked one of them, ‘What are you doing here on a Saturday morning?’ And one of them just looked at me and tilted his head and was like ‘Coach, this is just what we do.’

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Granted, you didn’t have to be there. At any other school a guy might show up at 8:05 with his shoes untied or something. Not at Miami. No, if you didn’t show up at 7:55 ready to go, you got shunned. Nobody wants to talk to you, because you think you’re so much bigger than the group. There were never any egos.

Mark Stoops (defensive backs coach): They did seven-on-seven with each other, the o-line and d-line worked basically the whole year round. That’s just what they did; it was part of their culture… I was blown away by the player’s self-motivation and how great the leaders were there.

Don Soldinger (running backs coach): One time, Frank Gore called me at 3:30 a.m. to ask me about pass protections.

Frank Gore (freshman, running back): He said ‘If you need help, don’t be afraid to call.’ So I was studying my plays and I called him and told him to quiz me.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): Who stood out as leaders and workers from that group? Can I say ‘The team?’ I had so many guys.

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): It started during 2000, but the players, they really policed themselves. We had no altercations, we had no nothing.

Ed Reed (senior, safety): We told coach, ‘If anything happens with the players on the team coach, we got it. Don’t you worry about it.’

D.J. Williams (sophomore, linebacker): As far as punishment, that was all done within the locker room.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): If you didn’t make your times, it wasn’t pretty for you. And I didn’t have anything to do with it! I did everything to help you, I might try to save you, but the rest of the guys would be like ‘Coach, you might not want to see this.’

Phillip Buchanon (junior, cornerback): The coaches aren’t gonna handle this. This is our locker room. We’re going to handle this.

Andreu Swasey (strength and conditioning coach): They handled their own discipline. So I’d start talking and Ed Reed would cut me off, like ‘I don’t mean any disrespect…’ then he’d handle the lecture for me. And I’m like ‘Damn, ok.’

Curtis Johnson (wide receivers coach): I remember, Sean Taylor was a freshman and I was watching him right at the beginning of two-a-days and Sean, he just didn’t run (as) fast (as he could) or something. And the coach went to get on him, and before the coach could get there Ed Reed just jumped on him; Sean was almost crying. It was the worst thing you could ever see, but the coaches didn’t have to do any of that, the players did it all. When that happens, I knew we were well on our way.

Najeh Davenport (senior, fullback): This may seem bad to say, but my senior year, Coach Coker was the head coach, Coach Chud was the offensive coordinator, but once we learned the system, that’s all she wrote.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): (Coker) knew how great of a team he had. He had been there with us. We had great leadership on our team, we had great coaches, great assistants, great starters, great back-ups. We knew what we had, and knew we didn’t need much tinkering.

Brett Romberg (junior, center): Butch Davis had done a great job steering that ship and doing a great job in building it, and all we needed was somebody to maintain the animal. Coker was the perfect fit.

Maurice Sikes (sophomore, safety): He had a very good understanding of the fact that he had a masterpiece. All he had to do was take it to the damn museum.

Najeh Davenport (senior, fullback): We were teaching each other, coaching each other, watching film together. We were destined to win the National Championship. 

Randy Shannon (defensive coordinator): I felt like we had a bunch of guys who had a common goal. They wanted to win a championship.
Aaron is a contributor at FoxSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, and be sure to check FoxSports.com for the full article on Wednesday.

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Ed Reed weighs in on Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Ravens' win over Steelers

Now that former Ravens star free safety Ed Reed has joined the media, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is in the position of commenting on his former team as well as weighing in on former teammate Ray Rice and his high-profile domestic violence incident.

Reed told The Baltimore Sun during Ravens senior advisor of player development O.J. Brigance's 45th birthday party last weekend that he's trying to strike a balance between doing his job and remaining supportive of Rice.

"The Ray Rice situation, what happened, yeah, it's terrible," said Reed, a rookie analyst for Showtime's Inside the NFL program. "I'm not defending domestic violence, by any means. At the same time, I've seen on Twitter and social networks how domestic violence has affected other people even worse with women set on fire, beautiful women hurt badly by people who are truly sick in this world. Who's to say one situation is worse than another situation."

Reed said he's also reached out through text messages to Rice, whose $35 million contract was terminated by the Ravens last week with the NFL indefinitely suspending him and declaring him ineligible to sign with another NFL team.

"I've been sending him positive words," Reed said. "I've been telling him to keep working out. I know it's tough. If he wants to talk, I told him just to text me. From this side, I know a bunch of teams need running backs."

Reed took issue with the video of Rice punching his then-fiancee, Janay, whom he later married, constantly being replayed on television and on the Internet.
"We're all human, but society loves that stuff to some degree," Reed said. "It's like watching the news, I don't even watch the news anymore because it's always something bad. We need compassion, love and a bunch of mirrors in our houses.  We need to look at ourselves and  really search our hearts. We all make mistakes. How can we take the situation and make it better? We are all in the construction site of life.

"There's bricks lying everywhere to be thrown or you can take bricks and build people up. There's people at the construction site waiting with bricks in hand versus, 'I'm going to stack this to build up a nice foundation of life to benefit from.' It takes a village. We are all in it together. We are one community. We are one village. That's what we need to really understand. We're all the same. You cut us and we all bleed the same."

Reed said it's a challenge for him to comment on Rice.

"I'm on your side now on the media side and to have to talk about someone who's close to you, it's difficult," Reed said. "It's like family. It does get hard. You have to do your job and you want to do it the right way. You have people looking over your shoulder on Twitter, but you're not going to please everybody."

Reed, who is now working for Showtime's Inside the NFL,  also weighed in on the Adrian Peterson situation. The Minnesota Vikings running back has been arrested for causing injuries to his 4-year-old son for hitting him with a "switch," and injuring his legs, back, hands and private parts.

"Man, all of us have been whipped before," Reed said. "I picked my own switch as a child. If you're child's not listening to you, he's not going to listen to that officer one day. We all grew up in different environments and were raised differently.

"Who knows the true relationship between him and his girl for her to report that? I'm going to continue to discipline my child. As parents, we tend to go too far. My parents went too far at times. I bet his kid will be better for that."

Reed attended the Ravens' 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, an AFC North win that evened their record.

"You know as well as I do that Pittsburgh's not very good," Reed said. "Pittsburgh will get better as the season goes by the way they always do, as will the Ravens. It's hard to say what it all means, but I do know Pittsburgh's not very good.

"It was a great win. You can't go down 0-2 in the division. This next game could be a tough one. Cleveland actually has a pretty decent team."

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Ed Reed Thinks He Can Lead Team

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed doesn’t think the Ravens have someone that can lead the team in the aftermath of the Ray Rice fallout.

When he was asked who he thought the soul of the Ravens is on Showtime’s Inside the NFL, he replied: “I’m sitting right here.”

He added that the Ravens do have some leaders on the team. Some of which were added this year.

“I think the whole team has to rally around themselves as a group,” Reed said. “They have to talk among themselves and say this is our team at the end of the day. It’s not the organization so much the people upstairs. It has to be the team that sticks up.”

“I’m sitting right here with y’all,” he said when asked who in the locker room could say the same.

He says there is “definitely a different mentality” from the team he left behind.

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Ed Reed joins Showtime's 'Inside the NFL' as analyst

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed had his moments with the media during his superlative career here, some good, some bad. But now, he’s joining their ranks.

Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand reported Thursday afternoon that Reed would be joining Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the “Inside the NFL” show, which will air Tuesday nights on Showtime and re-air Wednesday on NFL Network.

Reed told reporters at Lardarius Webb’s charity softball game in June that he was “definitely preparing to play,” though he didn’t have plans to sign at all.

"I'm very excited to be part of the Inside the NFL team this season," Reed said in a statement. "It's an honor to work along side such an award winning cast and crew. I look, very much, forward to continuing to work in and promote the game I love so much."

He joins notable former Ravens like linebacker Ray Lewis, quarterback Trent Dilfer and tight end Shannon Sharpe among those who have transitioned from the field to the television studio. Former linebacker Bart Scott will join CBS as an analyst this fall.

Let’s hope for Reed’s sake that his transition is just as smooth.

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Tom Brady: Revis like Ed Reed & Ray Lewis

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a guest on Boston sports-radio station WEEI on Monday morning, as part of his weekly in-season interview, and he shared insight on what it’s like to practice against cornerback Darrelle Revis.

In doing so, Brady drew a connection to former Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

"It’s been so fun to go against him because he challenges every throw, he challenges every play, he’s really just so smart and so instinctive," Brady said.

"I played against Ed Reed for a long time and just a little bit of an example, Ed Reed he'd play the deep middle of the field but sometimes he’d make tackles 3 yards from the line of scrimmage when his responsibility was 40 yards down the field. You’d say, 'God, how did he know that the team was running a shallow cross?' He just knew. He saw something and that freedom of his deep-field responsibility allowed him to play with confidence that the ball was going to be [in] a certain spot.

"That’s a lot how 'Reeve' is. You don’t know what he sees, or what he knows, but he always is in the right place and has incredible instincts for a corner when sometimes he runs the routes [before] the receivers. He has great intuition and he obviously sees everything on the field. He sees the quarterback, he sees the split of the receiver, he sees the eyes of the receiver, he sees the technique of the receiver coming off the line of scrimmage, and it’s probably hard for him explain at times what he sees. He just sees everything and he makes great breaks on the ball. That’s what makes a great defensive player -- the anticipation.

"Ray Lewis was another one, where when you would play-action, he wouldn’t even step toward the line of scrimmage. He would just drop back into a zone, and when you’d run the ball, he’s be downhill faster than anybody. He just recognized plays and combinations; it’s a great skill and the instincts for a particular player.

"'Reeve' has definitely got all those traits, and I knew that when I played against him with the Jets. He was so good for them. He eliminates a big part of the field for a particular offense, so you always have to know what you’re doing when you throw the ball in his area, because you know he’s going to be right there closing on the ball."

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Why Ed Reed had the best Miami season

Ed Reed had heart. He had swagger. He had leadership. He had emotion. He had a cool-under-pressure temperament. He had a knack for making big plays. He had key interceptions. He had major touchdown returns.

He had the tangibles, and he had the intangibles, the best of everything rolled into one complete package. Ed Reed may not have had the eye-popping stats on paper in 2001, but his performance that season transcends numbers.

Others may point to Willis McGahee or Warren Sapp or Russell Maryland. Miami has a long list of legendary players at just about every position on the football field. A multitude of guys could make the case for best single-season performance.

What Reed did in 2001 stands out above them all.

Without him, Miami does not win a fifth national championship.

I had the great fortune of covering that Miami team, one that ended up producing 17 first-round draft picks. Ken Dorsey, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey and Andre Johnson were terrific. But Reed was on another level in two different ways: He was a phenomenal athlete with terrific range, a natural instinct for the ball and the ability to lay down the punishing hit -- but he also was the type of player his teammates refused to let down.

Three iconic snapshots from that season define him.

The first: His impromptu halftime speech against Florida State, with Miami up 21-13 but playing a pretty flat first half. His now famous, 'I'm hurt, dog!' rant, captured on video, has over 2 million views on YouTube. Nobody could inspire his teammates the way he did. Miami scored 28 points in the third quarter to romp to the victory.

The second: Miami up 12-7 against Boston College. The Eagles drove down to the Miami 9 with less than a minute to play. Reed came to the rescue. After Matt Walters intercepted a tipped pass, he was close to being tackled to the ground. Reed snatched the ball from Walters’ hands and scored a touchdown, preserving the unbeaten season in a play that still resonates today.

The third: The regular-season finale against Virginia Tech. The Hokies were the last true threat to the Canes’ unbeaten run. Again, Reed made the plays when they counted. He had two interceptions, including one in the closing minutes to seal the victory and a spot in the national championship game.

Reed ended up winning consensus All-America honors, and led the country with nine interceptions. He had 18 total pass breakups to lead the Big East but he lost out on the Thorpe Award that season to Roy Williams of Oklahoma, a shame considering the mark Reed left on college football.

Perhaps what Reed did that season was underappreciated at the time, considering all the talent surrounding him. Maybe it was easy to overlook his standalone performance, especially compared to the big names on offense.

But as the years pass, it becomes clear Reed the player and Reed the leader stand above all the Miami greats.

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Ed Reed To Chiefs?

Since the traumatizing end to the Chiefs 2013 season, there’s no position I’ve wanted to see improvement in more than safety.

True, late in the 2013 campaign there were defensive breakdowns across the backfield, and cornerback is also a concern. But, the safety’s role is to ensure that one blown coverage isn’t an instant TD for the opponent. They’re there to at least slow the opponent down in a shootout and make sure a 28-point playoff collapse can’t happen.

For the record, I’m very high on both the Chiefs’ starting safeties — perennial Pro-Bowler Eric Berry and rising star Husain Abdullah. Where I have zero confidence is in the Chiefs current safety depth. Going into training camp behind the starters, were 2013 draft pick Sanders Commings, and three guys who have never started in the NFL — Jerron McMillian a career backup at Green Bay and UDFA’s Daniel Sorenson and Malcolm Bronson.

Yesterday, Berry hurt his ankle, though it appears not seriously, and Commings — the team’s only backup that was more than a camp body — broke his ankle and went off to surgery. The team has since reportedly signed journeyman safety Steve Gregory, but have not yet made the requisite roster move to officialize the signing. Much of the chatter points to the Chiefs putting Commings on IR once again. This seems to be at best a lateral move.

If there is any position group that is in crisis for the Chiefs, this is it.

While I would normally never advocate for signing a player in what is likely the last leg of his professional career over young developmental players, I think now is the time for Ed Reed to put on the red and gold.

Reed’s best days are most certainly behind him and he may never actually start for the Chiefs if he were signed — in fact, barring injuries, he shouldn’t. But if the Chiefs want some reliable veteran depth, I can’t think of anyone better. As Abdullah himself said in the aforelinked video, the Chiefs suffered some major communication breakdowns late last season. Furthermore, it was clear that once the defense was no longer dictating the pace of the game and the DB’s suddenly had to hold together for the full 60 minutes, this young backfield made egregious mental errors.

I know that the 2014 Reed is not a world-beater, all-pro. What Reed can be, however, if he is forced onto the field, is the guy who you can trust to make the correct first step at the snap, to be general who will make sure everyone is lined up properly and hold the squad together mentally. That is what I felt was most lacking late last year — an experienced guy who can make the overall squad better and will at least save the big play from becoming a big touchdown.

His benefits would not only be on the field. Every safety currently on the roster — including Berry — could benefit from having Reed in the film room and on the sidelines with them. He’s arguably the best safety in the history of the game, and his knowledge is bound to rub off on the team’s young and developing safety group.

During just a two-week stint with the Jets at the end of last season, the players still raved at his mental impact on the other players.

“It was big when we had Ed Reed here,” said inside linebacker Demario Davis, who had a monster practice on Wednesday. “He showed us how to really watch film. The big thing he told us was, you know, you learn something, you see something, just trust what you see.”

Every player and coach in the league watches film. But Brian Billick, Reed’s head coach for six seasons with the Ravens, said that from the time Reed entered the league, he had an uncommon gift for seeing things others weren’t seeing on film.

“Ed was maybe the most intellectual player I’ve ever had,” said Billick, now an analyst for the NFL Network. “Ed’s as good as anybody I’ve ever had at being able to sit, look at a film, and pull something out that’s tangible.”

Best of all, Reed will be cheap. Other than his short stint as a stopgap for the Jets, he’s seen little to no interest since being released by the Texans last November. Although it was a down year for him and he was clearly overpaid, it was also pretty clear that his release stemmed from his sounding off in public about the team being “outplayed and out coached.” I’m definitely not a fan of players throwing their coaches and teammates under the bus, but can you think of a team that underachieved more than the Texans last year?

At this stage of his career, what the 35-year-old Reed needs is to join a playoff team that he can make better. Given that no one else has sought his services, he’s already making about $2.7 million in guaranteed money from the Texans and there are few places where he’d have a better chance of seeing the field than in Kansas City, I bet the team could get him for little more than the veteran minimum.

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Jets not interested in bringing back Ed Reed

ESPN New York reports the Jets have no interest in signing free agent Ed Reed.

Reed told reporters earlier this month he hopes to continue playing, but hasn't received any free-agent interest. His best chance at getting signed could come after Week 1, when base salaries aren't guaranteed. Calvin Pryor, Antonio Allen, and Dawan Landry are entrenched as the Jets' top three safeties. Beat writer Rich Cimini thinks Reed would only be an option if the Jets suffer injuries.

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Steelers Unlikely to have interest in Ed Reed

The Pittsburgh Steelers are not expected to show an interest in free-agent FS Ed Reed (Jets), as they already have four safeties with Will Allen, Michael Mitchell, Troy Polamalu and Shamarko Thomas, and Robert Golden also could push for a spot, so there is no room for Reed right now.

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Ed Reed is still not an option for the Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was only natural for the question to come up.

Safety is an area of concern for the Indianapolis Colts since Antoine Bethea calls San Francisco home now. The player who is currently available has a history with the head coach.

Ed Reed and Chuck Pagano spent time together at the University of Miami and with the Baltimore Ravens. Pagano respects Reed. Pagano was the Hurricanes' secondary coach from 1995-2000, the Ravens' secondary coach from 2008-10, then their defensive coordinator the following season.

The question about them possibly being reunited was asked by fans when the Houston Texans released Reed last season.

It was asked again by fans after Reed told reporters he plans to play next season during a charity softball game in Baltimore over the weekend.

And just like last November, don't expect the Colts to have any interest in Reed. He's a nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner, but his best years are clearly behind him. He didn't struggle and eventually get benched and released from the Texans for no reason.

The Colts would have signed a safety during free agency or selected one during last month's draft if they were really concerned about the position.

The starting safety spot is right there for Delano Howell. It'll stay that way until he somebody else beats him out for it.

"Delano Howell has played some really good snaps for us," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said last month. "We feel good about Delano and we're hoping some of these other guys rise to the occasion. We signed Colt Anderson. We've got some guys that have had some starts in this league. Corey Lynch has played 12 starts in this league. Someone is going to emerge."

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Ed Reed: I can still play in NFL despite 2013 season

Ed Reed doesn't want to ride into the sunset just yet.

At a charity softball game with former Baltimore Ravens teammate Lardarius Webb, the veteran safety said he still wants to play in 2014 and will be patient looking for the right opportunities.

The 35-year-old Reed said he's "still preparing to play," per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. Reed added that he knows that teams "need safeties."

Now that we've hit June, it will be easier for organizations to add veteran free agents -- which will not count against a team's compensatory draft picks in 2015.

Reed, however, doesn't intend on signing with a team in the short term, telling reporters he doesn't plan to attend a training camp.

"I know I can still play," Reed said, reiterating that he could see himself rejoining the Ravens organization in some capacity.

He added that any team interested in him would have to be "the right fit."

After a dreadful 2012 campaign, he began the 2013 season with a rocky start in Houston. After the Texans cut him, the 13-year veteran teamed up with the New York Jets and ended an ineffective season with Rex Ryan.

Reed might still want to play, but teams aren't generally in the business of paying a safety who has lost all his speed.

His best chance at playing in 2014 is injury -- that is, an injury that causes a team to get desperate after the season starts.

As usual with Reed, he hedged his comments, saying that if no team wants to bring him back he'd be fine disappearing, a la Barry Sanders -- the difference here being that Sanders didn't play long enough for his skills to diminish.

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Ed Reed Wants To Play This Year, Open To Coaching For Ravens

Ed Reed isn’t ready to give up football quite yet.

The future Hall of Fame safety remains a free agent, but he’s still preparing to suit up at some point during the 2014 season.

“I know that I can still play. It’s a matter of the right fit,” Reed said while he was in Baltimore for Lardarius Webb’s charity softball event Sunday.

“[I’m] definitely preparing to play. If I wasn’t, you would have heard something by now. The offseason is going great. I’m spending time with my family. I’m not in any rush at all.”

Reed, 35, looked to be in good shape as he moved around the softball field set up at M&T Bank Stadium, and he was also no longer sporting the grey beard and long hair that he’s had the last couple of years.

Reed spent last season with the Houston Texans and New York Jets after playing the first 11 years of his career in Baltimore.

“I learned a lot about the process last year, and know my worth,” Reed said. “I’m taking my time, getting myself all the way back to where I want to be. It will come back down to it somewhere in the season. I’ll probably wind up somewhere. Or not.”

Reed finished last season with 38 tackles and three interceptions. The Texans cut him midway through the season, and then the Jets picked him up for the final seven games.

For several years, Reed has expressed interest in coaching once his playing days are behind him, and he said Sunday he could see himself returning to the Baltimore in that role.

“I could see me working in the organization here,” Reed said. “I could see me working for Ozzie [Newsome] and those guys, and Steve [Bisciotti] because I put so much into it and I know how they work. And they taught me so much.

“I think I can help pretty much any organization if I’m a position coach, a consultant, whatever. But I still have a lot to learn, and I’m willing to learn because it’s a different craft when you’re talking about coaching.”

Reed is clearly still a fan favorite in Baltimore, as the cheers for him were louder than anybody else at Webb’s softball game. He also maintains a relationship with his old teammates, and he spent much of the afternoon talking with as many people as possible.

“Anytime you’re around him, you know it’s going to be a good time,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “He enjoyed himself and you know Baltimore still loves him, so it was special to see how they welcomed him.”

The next move for Reed is somewhat unclear, as he plans to take his time determining if there is a place that makes sense for him to play this year. He laughed when asked about signing by training camp this year, and responded, “I’m not going to anybody’s training camp.”

Time will tell if he’s able to find a team interested in signing him, but he also knows that he could end up riding off into the sunset.

“I’m not worried about the end. I’m not under contract. I’m not under contract, so I’m already at the finish line,” Reed said. “If not, you guys will probably never see me again. I don’t have to put in any papers. I don’t have to sign anybody’s contract. I don’t have to go to any organization. Ed Reed and Barry Sanders, they did it their way.”

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Ed Reed preparing to play in 2014

BALTIMORE -- Ed Reed said he's not planning to retire this year, although the perennial Pro Bowl safety may not sign with another team until the season begins.

"Yes, definitely preparing to play," Reed said Sunday at cornerback Lardarius Webb's charity softball game at M&T Bank Stadium. "I'm not in any rush at all. I learned a lot about the process last year and I know my worth. I'm taking my time getting myself all the way back to where I want to be. I'll come back down to it somewhere in season. I'll probably wind up somewhere, or not."

Reed, 35, spent nine Pro Bowl seasons with the Ravens and won a Super Bowl in his final game with them in February 2013.

He signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans as a free agent last year but struggled mightily and was eventually benched. He was released after making no interceptions in seven games.

Reed finished last season by signing with the New York Jets and reuniting with coach Rex Ryan, the former Ravens defensive coordinator.

During his time with the Ravens, Reed battled through a nerve impingement in his neck and a hip injury. He routinely didn't participate in offseason workouts.
Not surprisingly, Reed wants to wait before signing with another team.

"I'm not going to anybody's training camp," Reed said. "I sat and watched the league from a different perspective and learned a lot. I saw they had teams that needed safeties in the latter part of the year. Right now, I'm just about taking care of me. I'm getting myself back to where there's not questions on my part. I know you guys (the media) may question, but I'm not really worried about that. It's about how I feel."

If there is no interest from other teams, Reed said he won't make any formal retirement announcement.

"I know that I can still play," Reed said. "It's just a matter of the right fit. If not, you guys probably never see me again."

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St. Rose's Ed Reed football camp planned

Ed Reed, a St. Rose native and NFL football player, will hold his summer football camp June 24-26 from 9 a.m. to noon at Destrehan High School. The cost is $40. Boys ages 7-17 may attend. For information call Jeanne Hall at 985.764.9946 extension 100.

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Ed Reed to play in Lardarius Webb's charity softball game

Former Ravens free safety Ed Reed is scheduled to play in cornerback Lardarius Webb's annual charity softball game, Webb tweeted Tuesday morning.

Reed, 35, last played at M&T Bank Stadium last season when the Ravens defeated the New York Jets.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year last played for the Ravens during their Super Bowl championship season in 2012 when he intercepted four passes in the regular season and another during a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans before last season but was released in November and then played the final seven games with the New Yokr Jets under former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

While playing for the Ravens, the 2002 first-round draft pick from the University of Miami had 61 interceptions and was selected to nine Pro Bowls.
Tickets for the June 1 softball game are available through Webb's charitable foundation website.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receivers Torrey Smith and Steve Smith among the other players scheduled to attend.  

The game was shifted from Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen this year.

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Ed Reed has $50,000 cash stolen from his car

Former Houston Texans safety Ed Reed learned a $50,000 lesson about financial safety.

Do not leave $50,000 in your car.

As simplistic as that sounds, Reed is currently without that amount of money after leaving it in the front seat of his car in Houston, according to Click2Houston.com. The thief smashed the window in Reed's car and stole the money.

Here is a portion of that story:

“Sources say the bag contained $50,000. Reed had gotten the money from a bank down the street and then stopped off at the Bank of America in the 12000 block of Westheimer near the Westpark Tollway.

“Police believe Reed was followed.”

The only positive aspect of this story is Reed was not harmed during the theft. If Reed was followed, this story could have ended differently if the thief tried to take the money with force.

Reed signed with Houston prior to last season, but was released after only appearing in seven games. He signed with the New York Jets, but failed to have an impact. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

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Ravens eligible to get comp pick for Ed Reed

The NFL confirmed that the Baltimore Ravens are eligible to get a compensatory pick after losing safety Ed Reed in free agency last year.

There were questions about whether or not the Ravens would receive one after I wrote last weekend the team will likely get four comp picks. So, I reached out to league spokesman Corry Rush, who explained why the Ravens could still get a compensatory pick for Reed (although it can't be higher than a fifth-round one).

A reader suggested that the Ravens wouldn't get a comp pick for Reed because he played 10 years in the league. Here's the exact rule: "No Club shall be entitled to a Compensatory Draft Selection before the end of the fifth round for any CFA (excluding quarterbacks) with ten or more Accrued Seasons at the time of signing with his new Club."

Another reader questioned whether or not the Ravens would be awarded a comp pick because Reed was released during the season by the Houston Texans. According to the NFL, a team won't receive a comp pick if its former player is released or waived before Week 10. But the Texans cut Reed after the 10th week of the season. If they had done so the previous week, the Ravens wouldn't have been eligible for one. The Ravens should thank Gary Kubiak for that one.

So, the Ravens could get the league-maximum four compensatory picks, when they're announced at the NFL Owners Meetings next month. These are the four players that the Ravens are eligible to receive compensatory picks for: Reed, linebacker Paul Kruger, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Cary Williams.

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Josh Bush Will Shadow Ed Reed into Offseason

Frustration, disappointment, even resentment would all have been perfectly understandable feelings for safety Josh Bush after the November signing of Ed Reed buried him deeper in the defensive depth chart.

But for Bush, Reed was no speed bump on his road to additional defensive snaps. He was a ramp to the top.

“Mr. Reed, how are you doing? I’m your shadow,” he told the future Hall of Fame safety prior to their first practice together as Green & White teammates.

Throughout the season, Josh took advantage of the opportunity to learn from, in his words, “the best instruction manual in the world."

Despite going the first three-quarters of the 2013 season without a pick, Reed was tied for the lead among NFL safeties with three interceptions from the time he joined the Jets through the end of the year. Maybe he did lose some speed due to his hip surgery, but he compensated with an active brain.

“I saw a true leader,” Bush said at Jets House in Manhattan this past week about his seven weeks playing alongside Reed. “The common man knows he wasn’t 100 percent coming off hip surgery, but he was more of a coach than anything. Just to have him around us was a special time.”

Now, it’s time for Bush to let the special times roll right into the offseason. In the next few weeks he’ll be taking a trip down to Atlanta to live with Reed, pick his brain and, holding true to his word, shadow his every move.

“He’s always willing to share knowledge,” the 24-year-old Wake Forest product said. “He told me once you get to a certain point, that’s what it’s all about. Why would you keep knowledge away from a younger guy? That keeps the world turning, so he definitely wants to give knowledge.”

Of course, their time spent together won’t entirely be spent talking X’s and O’s.

Josh Bush is not just a 5’11”, 205-pound, third-year safety for the Jets, just as Ed Reed is more than just the NFL's active career interceptions leader. Just take a look at @JBush’s Twitter bio, for instance, and you’ll see that he’s also a self-proclaimed music producer, singer, rapper and songwriter.

“People always want to talk about football,” Bush said of his 7,391 Twitter followers. “I can ask, ‘What’s a good breakfast spot to eat at?’ and they’ll be like ‘Football!’ But we’re more than football. I’m trying to get across to my fans in music.”

That’s where Reed comes in once again.

“Ed Reed actually had a song out from his University of Miami days. It should be on YouTube,” Bush said. “He’s mentoring a producer named Hit-Boy out in California. He really has an ear for music, so I’ll send my music to him just to get an ‘OK’ or a ‘Nah, you have to go back and switch a few things.’ It’s the same way on the field. He’ll tell me when I’m messing up or congratulate me when I’m doing well.”

Currently, Bush is working alongside Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart along with WR Kenny Moore (Wake Forest in college, Panther in the NFL) to create all types of music.

“We’re just trying to get a lot of material,” Bush said. “Making music may sound easy, but it’s really not. You have to almost force yourself to just go into the studio and produce and create every day.”

Josh primarily sings R&B, his favorite instrument to play is the piano, the instrument he plays best is the guitar, he plays the drums as well, his lyrical inspiration can be drawn from anything, although it’s typically not football-related, and while he listens to any and all types of music, his favorite artist is J. Cole because “everything he says in on point.”

All that being said, Bush is not setting out to be the next J. Cole, just as he's not setting out to be the next Ed Reed.

“For me it’s never been pursuing anything,” he explained. “Even for football, you just want to be as good as you can be so that’s why I work on it. I never dreamed of playing in the NFL. I just started playing football because my friends did so I just practice to be good at it. I never actually pursued a career in the National Football League.”

It’s reasonable to say Josh Bush prefers to simply go with the flow.

“Music is one of the most important things in the planet,” Bush said. “Every car has a radio, every cellphone plays music, so it’s just having fun with it. There’s no way anyone could go more than an hour without hearing music. They may not notice it, but they definitely run into it. If music is everywhere, just embrace it.”

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Ravens Missed Ray Lewis, Ed Reed

Just last week, Head Coach John Harbaugh saw cornerback Chykie Brown listening to a Ray Lewis speech on his iPhone.

“I’m just trying to get fired up, coach,” Brown said.

A lot of the chatter before the season was about how the Ravens were moving on from two organizational institutions and locker room leaders, Lewis and Ed Reed.

After the season ended, Harbaugh was asked whether it really was an issue not having their leadership.

“I missed them, personally, and I think our guys missed them,” Harbaugh said, before citing the Brown anecdote. "So, Ray Lewis lives.

“You’re always going to miss guys. I think those guys are doing their thing now and doing real well at it, and they’re always a part of us going forward. They’re good friends; we miss them.”

Reed played for the Houston Texans, where he struggled on the field and clashed with coaching staff, and then the New York Jets, where he played well with three interceptions in six games.

Lewis became an analyst on Monday Night Football and other ESPN programming.

The Ravens, meanwhile, found other sources of leadership – both old and new.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata became a stronger voice and leader by example. Fullback Vonta Leach was relied on for leadership on offense, as well as guard Marshal Yanda, wide receiver Torrey Smith and quarterback Joe Flacco.

Safety James Ihedigbo stepped up in the secondary, and defensive end Chris Canty and linebacker Daryl Smith both became highly-respected veterans amongst their teammates.

The Ravens had leadership. They just didn’t wear No. 52 and No. 20.

But Lewis and Reed were still missed around Baltimore.

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Ed Reed Climbing NFL INT List

Among the many departures from the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII-winning team, Ed Reed's was one of the most impactful for the fans.

A big reason for that is not that he retired, as Ray Lewis did. It's that he chose to wear another uniform, that of the Houston Texans, who won two games in 2013 and earned the first overall draft pick.

One thing Reed did during his first season away from Charm City is continue his climb up the league's all-time interception list.

Reed picked off three passes this season raising his lifetime regular-season total to 64. 

That propelled him from 10th on the all-time list up to sixth, rocketing him past such luminaries as Ronnie Lott, Dave Brown, Darren Sharper and Dick LeBeau. LeBeau, who is now Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator, was a star defensive back for the Detroit Lions several decades ago.

If the 35-year-old Reed plays next season, he would need one pickoff to tie ex-Cincinnati safety Ken Riley for fifth place on the list and four to draw even with fourth-place Dick "Night Train" Lane, who played primarily with the Lions during the 1950s.

There appears to be no chance Reed would reach the all-time record of 81, which belongs to former Washington and Minnesota safety Paul Krause, who played during the 1960s and 1970s.

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Ed Reed to get an MRI, wants to play for Jets next year, considering retirement

FLORHAM PARK -- When it comes to his future as an NFL player, all options—a medical check-up, playing next year, retirement—appear to be on the table for Jets safety Ed Reed.

"What's next for me, man?" Reed said in response to a question as the Jets cleaned out their lockers at the team's practice facility on Monday. "I'm about go and do an MRI, and get back to the townhouse and pack my stuff up, and figure out where I'm going to go."

Reed, who will be 36 next September, is a future Hall of Famer playing out the twilight of his brilliant career. He achieved pretty much everything in his 11 seasons with the Ravens, finally getting a Super Bowl ring last year. But he had offseason hip surgery (his second hip procedure since 2010), signed with the Texans as a free agent, and wound up getting waived. In mid-November, he landed with the Jets, mostly to serve as a slower, wiser elder statesman for the team's young defenders, especially first-round draft pick Dee Milliner.

But now? Reed said the MRI would be precautionary, a kind of scheduled maintenance for the wear and tear all those harsh NFL miles have put on his hip, if not also the rest of his aging body. He wants to keep playing, and is even open to staying with the Jets, who brought him on this year at a pro-rated salary of $940,000 that accounted for just $387,000 against the salary cap, per spotrac.com.

"If the team will allow me," Reed said of returning to the Jets, "and everything goes according to my offseason (plan), yeah."

Update (3:24 p.m.): A source told Metro New York the Jets would consider bringing Reed back "if the price was right."

Pro Football Focus gave Reed a cumulative grade of minus-4.9 for the season, though the worst of that was acculumulated during his time with the Texans. Reed did get all three of his interceptions on the year—bringing his career total to 65, tying him for fifth in NFL history—in the season's last four weeks. Those three picks also tied him for the Jets' team lead for the 2013 season. And he did manage to earn positive grades from PFF in the season's final two games.
Reed also played 72 percent of the defense's snaps in Sunday's season-ending win in Miami.

Jets coach Rex Ryan has spoken highly of Reed since his arrival. After Sunday's victory, Ryan praised Reed in particular for his positive influence on Milliner, who struggled for much of the year but collected three interceptions in the season's last two games.

Reed had previously said that playing another year for Ryan would entice him to consider returning to the Jets. Now that Ryan is definitely coming back in 2014, Reed reiterated his own desire to be back at 1 Jets Drive.

"It would make it a lot easier, because obviously I know the system," Reed said.

Reed said he felt comfortable physically during the year, and that he got stronger as the season wore on because his hip was healing. He did mention that it helped having Thursdays off from practice toward the end of the year.

"The longer I get away from the surgical date, it's better," Reed said. "I feel I will be a lot stronger because I'll have a whole offseason to work out, and really balance my rehab out. My left side was actually tighter than my right because I was compensating more, as far as my workouts."

Asked what kind of role he sees for himself in 2014—as a complementary part or a main cog in a team's secondary—Reed said, "Whatever it takes to win."
What about retirement?

"Man, I gave thoughts to retiring three, four years ago," Reed answered. "There's always that possibility, man. That's something I've always evaluated after every season since my first year. This is a violent sport, the sport is changing a lot, and organizations are changing. It's just a different game now.

"I think I was pretty good for having two hip surgeries and being able to play in this defense after being on another team, (plus a) first year through free agency. I have no regrets."

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Ed Reed, Kellen Winslow absent at Jets practice

Three Jets did not participate in practice Thursday. Ed Reed, the safety who has received Thursdays off the past two weeks, had the day off and was not present.

Neither was Kellen Winslow, who was sent home with an illness. The tight end also did not practice Wednesday to rest his right knee.

Ellis Lankster, a cornerback who did not participate in practice Tuesday or Wednesday, was on the field during position drills but not wearing a helmet. Lankster did not officially participate in practice. He missed last Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with a jaw injury, which Rex Ryan explained is a complication from getting a tooth pulled.

The players listed as limited on Wednesday's injury report -- Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie -- were all on the field as the Jets practiced indoors but their status on the injury report did not change.

Ryan is not worried about those players failing to participate in Sunday's season finale in Miami against the Dolphins.

"I think we're good," the Jets coach said.

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Ed Reed's playing time dips in Jets' win over Browns

In the week leading into Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, Jets coaches said the game would offer a showcase for some seldom-used players. With the playoffs no longer within reach, the Jets would present those players a chance to experience increased snaps in practice and the game.

Two players cited by Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman were Josh Bush and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Both safeties have played sparingly this season on defense, mostly as a part of substitution packages. Official snap counts released Monday, though, show that Bush played on eight defensive snaps and Jarrett two.

Instead, Antonio Allen was the young safety who received a majority of increased plays against the Browns.

Allen's playing time has dipped, since Ed Reed's arrival during Week 11. After Reed was signed Nov. 14, the most participation Allen had seen prior to Sunday was two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, when he played on 36 percent of the defense's snaps.

Against the Browns, Reed's playing time plunged while Allen's shot up. Reed was on the field for 30 plays Sunday, or 46 percent of the Jets' 65 defensive snaps. The total was Reed's lowest since joining the team, and for the first time he did not start.

That designation fell to Allen, who lined up alongside Dawan Landry for the first two plays of the game. Allen participated in 69 percent of the defense's plays, 45 in total.

Last week, Thurman noted that rotation on defense -- particularly among the Jets' defensive backs -- is more a reaction to a particular week's opponent than a player's form.

"We try to take advantage of what our guys do (well) and what they do best," Thurman said last Thursday. "A lot of it is match-up driven."

It is possible, then, that Jets coaches felt Allen simply offered a better foil to the Browns' offense compared to Reed, who declined to speak after the game.

Rex Ryan addressed criticism of Reed last week, saying the 35-year-old safety has lost mobility. However, the Jets coach said that the team considers Reed a high-caliber player.

"This is still a good football player, he’s an outstanding player," Ryan said Friday. "Is he as good as he once was? No."

Reed made the most of his diminished playing time, though. On his 30th and final snap, he tracked a Jason Campbell throw, slipped in front of it and intercepted the ball, clinching the Jets' win. On the sideline, Ryan walked over and hugged Reed.

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Ed Reed slams critics, admits rough season

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ed Reed slammed critics who argue he hasn’t played as well this year as in the past, saying anyone who watched the tapes would realize he isn't responsible for the Jets' losses.

“This is football, man,” said the Jets safety. “We in this locker room been playing football for a long time. Nobody’s perfect out here on the football field. You guys’ job is to critique, be critics; that’s what you do. That’s why you ask the controversial question, try to make it controversial. Then you trash people in the media. I could care less about that. Missed tackles happen.”

The 35-year-old defensive back said he’s seen some of the stories that say he is slower, that he can’t make the plays he once did.

“Even reading you guys' blogs, reading your comments, knowing half [of you] don’t know as much about football as you think, unless you come in the film room,” Reed said. “Don’t even know the schematic part, you can ask the question, but that don’t mean you’re an expert at what we do.

"It’s funny to me, reading it. Smile at it, laugh at it. But that’s your job. Some of your jobs you take it and tear people down, try to tear the team down. [You don’t] understand that it’s a team, and you’d rather point the finger at one individual.“

Reed is defensive as the curtain closes over a long, challenging season. After offseason hip surgery, Reed left his longtime home in Baltimore and signed a three-year, $15 million deal with a Houston team on which he never seemed to get traction.

“Been a long year, definitely not what I expected,” Reed said. “Expectations were high, regardless of surgery. You leave a great organization thinking that you’re going somewhere else to build something, thinking they had something, turns out different.”

Reed said he came to New York with a bag, two pairs of jeans and a shirt and reunited with coach Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator. But he didn’t change the narrative, continuing to struggle with the Jets after starting immediately.

“Ed is a prideful guy,” Ryan said, “and he’s probably never faced criticism in his life because of the player he is.”

Ryan said Reed is the player in the locker room that he expected to get and that he mentors younger players as well. But in terms of production, like tackles and picks? “Nah, not yet.”

“He’s not the Ed Reed of 10 years ago, but I’m happy we have him,” Ryan said. “Ed’s still pretty darn good, and he’s helped this football team more than just maybe what you see on the field.”

Reed, who is on a one-year deal in New York, said he would like to remain a Jet next season but said that would probably change if embattled coach Ryan isn’t with the team.

“Probably,” Reed said, “because it’s his scheme that stays. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be [here]. Great coach.”

Ryan clearly has his player's back as well. He explained that he sees the media as having a job to do, just like the players and coaches, but that it can be hard for players not to bristle when they see negative stories.

“This is a first-ballot Hall of Fame player,” Ryan said. “There’s some negative criticism. What do you expect? Twenty-five-year-old or 26-year-old Ed Reed back there? Well that’s not it, but this is still a good football player. Is he as good as he once was? No, but that list is really short.”

Reed doesn’t have the job security he enjoyed when he was at the top of Everest, as Ryan put it.

“Always been around free agents and wondered how they did it,” Reed said. “Definitely commend those guys for going through it because it’s challenging.”

Reed’s security expires in two weeks.

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Jets injury report: Ed Reed's day of rest

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Ed Reed missed practice on Thursday after coach Rex Ryan approached him and said he thought the extra rest would help the New York Jets safety on Sundays.

“Ed’s on top of everything,” Ryan said. “He’s still leading the meetings with DBs. He’s there sharp. You just try to back him off where he’s not on his legs the whole time.”

Those days off of practice for veteran players – in the past for LaDainian Tomlinson and LaRon Landry – are a staple of Ryan’s maintenance plan, and he sometimes likens it to having players on a pitch count.

“Sometimes you’ve got to give Nolan Ryan a break,” Reed said with a smile.

Reed actually said he didn’t like the idea of sitting out a practice, just because he is used to getting those reps, but that he understood the reasoning behind it.

“Personally I don’t really get into it as much,” Reed said. “I know it’s needed, you have to be smart when you get into the latter part of your years or you've had injuries or anything.”

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Against Raiders, Ed Reed's snaps drop to lowest level since joining Jets

Since Ed Reed participated in all but two of the Jets defense's plays on Nov. 24 in Baltimore, the 35-year-old safety's snaps have diminished.

In the Jets' victory over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, Reed participated in two-thirds of the Jets' defensive plays -- 46 of 69 plays -- his lowest mark since signing Nov. 14. Nonetheless, Reed secured his first interception of the season, which set up a Jets field goal.

True to Rex Ryan's stated desire last week to rotate personnel packages with more frequency, Antonio Allen saw 25 defensive snaps, up from nine a week earlier. The Jets subbed Allen for Reed but also used a three-safety package, with Allen and Reed alongside Dawan Landry. Reserve safety Jaiquawn Jarrett played seven snaps, down from eight a week ago.

Reed explained the rotation following Sunday's game: "Coach just wanted to keep a good rotation of safeties, like he has been. We've been doing that honestly since I've been here. They've been wanting to keep a rotation, keep those guys acclimated to what the defense is doing. Like I told them, I'm alright with whatever the defense wants to do. I've played a lot of football, so for me to get a rest at any time it's well welcome, but at the same time you want to compete, you want to play. And I know those guys want to play. We all watch film together so I know they can do it."

On the other side of the ball, Kellen Winslow saw a nearly equivalent amount of playing time as he has since Week 12, but his production doubled against the Raiders. Winslow participated in 19 plays -- one-third of the Jets' total snaps -- and caught three of six targets for a team-high 61 yards. Jeff Cumberland participated in 79 percent of snaps, but did not see a pass tossed in his direction.

After just two snaps against the Miami Dolphins in Week 13 due to a right hamstring injury, Santonio Holmes participated in 42 of the Jets' 58 offensive plays against the Raiders. Ryan said the Jets had planned not to overwork Holmes' hamstring during the game.

David Nelson led Jets wide receivers with 54 snaps.

Jeremy Kerley, in his first game since Nov. 3, took part in 27 snaps. On seven of those plays, Geno Smith targeted Kerley, who had four catches, including a touchdown. With Kerley back, Greg Salas' participation dropped from 55 percent to 19 percent.

Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, the Jets' two running backs, split playing time evenly. Ivory got 29 plays and Powell 28.

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Ed Reed makes impact for NY Jets after questionable start

All week, questions abounded over whether Ed Reed should be starting for the Jets. All week, Rex Ryan said Reed would start unless injured.

That move ended up paying off for Ryan in the 37-27 victory over the Raiders on Sunday as the veteran safety picked off Matt McGloin in the second quarter at the Oakland 11-yard line. Reed said he was thinking touchdown on the return, but was tackled at the 4. Four plays later, the Jets had to settle for a Nick Folk field goal.

“I just stayed with the guy dragging across ... and he tried to force it, and I made the play,” Reed said.

Reed said the recent talk about how much he should be playing had no effect on him.

“I have nothing to prove to nobody, especially not anybody holding a microphone or a camera. I have nothing to prove. I just go out and do what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “There’s a reason why I’m on this side of the fence and y’all on the other side. Nobody’s perfect playing this game. People miss tackles, people miss plays. Every game.”

Though Reed did start and Ryan was so steadfast in his support of the future Hall of Famer this past week, the veteran safety actually played less. When Terrelle Pryor played quarterback for the Raiders, Reed was mostly replaced by Antonio Allen. Later, Jaiquawn Jarrett subbed for Reed as well.

“We knew it would be a physical game, (so) we tried to put some of the youngsters in there to take some of the heat,” Ryan said.

“I’m all right with whatever Coach wants to do,” Reed said. “I’ve played a lot of football, so for me to get a rest at any point, it’s welcome.”

It was Reed’s first victory of the season after spending the first part of the year with the Texans. It was also his first interception of the year, allowing him to continue his streak of at least one pick in every one of his seasons. Reed said he was conscious that his interception streak was in jeopardy coming into the game.

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Ed Reed: I’m still a good player, can play two more years

Ed Reed was cut by the Texans after half a season of ineffective play, and he hasn’t exactly drawn rave reviews in his first couple of games with the Jets. But Reed says anyone who thinks he has nothing left is wrong.

Reed said today that the judgments of fans and the media don’t interest him, and he knows from watching himself and watching other NFL safeties that he can still play at a high level.

“I have created a standard for myself. That standard hasn’t been created by no fan [or] person in the media,” Reed said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I think I’m still effective. I watch tape too. I’m not only watching myself. I watch safeties across the league. I don’t think that I have played much different this year than I have in the past if you go back & look at tape.”

Reed also said he wants to play for two more years after this season, and only retire after 2015. If that’s the case, Reed had better hope Rex Ryan’s job is safe with the Jets. Because Ryan may be the only coach left who still wants Reed to be a part of his defense.

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Jets' pass defense continues to struggle even after addition of Ed Reed

Ed Reed is one of the most successful safeties in NFL history, but he still has not participated in a victory this season.

This is not all his fault, of course. The Houston Texans had many flaws that resulted in them going 0-7 after Reed missed the first two games while recovering from offseason hip surgery. The Texans have lost 10 straight since a 2-0 start.

Houston released Reed after the seven-game skid, and the Jets signed him. They are 0-3 since Reed reunited with coach Rex Ryan, who was his defensive coordinator from 2005-08 in Baltimore.

The Jets’ miserable offense is the main reason why they have dropped three straight and find themselves at 5-7, with their playoff hopes fading as they prepare for Sunday’s home game against Oakland.

But Reed, a future Hall of Famer, has yet to make a major difference in the secondary, which had issues before he arrived, and still has them — particularly with the play of cornerback Dee Milliner, the Jets’ top draft pick this year.

In Sunday’s 23-3 loss to Miami, the 35-year-old Reed whiffed on a tackle after receiver Brian Hartline caught a pass. Hartline scooted into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown.

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill completed 28 of 43 passes for 331 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. A week earlier, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco went 17 of 26 for 273 yards, a TD and a pick. In Reed’s first game, rookie EJ Manuel was 20 of 28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Reed does not entirely deserve blame for the Jets’ pass defense struggles, though despite his major role since arriving, he has apparently done little to improve a secondary that ranks 25th in the NFL with 256.8 passing yards allowed per game.

Ryan immediately started Reed in his Jets debut at Buffalo, where he played all but eight snaps. He played all but two at Baltimore and all but eight against Miami. Antonio Allen had been starting alongside Dawan Landry, but in the past three games, Allen played three, 12 and nine snaps.

Allen did an admirable job covering elite tight ends Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the Saints earlier this season, as the Jets won both games. But Ryan has said Reed is a better deep safety, while Allen is more effective closer to the line, partly because he was an outside linebacker in college.

Reed does not have an interception as a Jet. The secondary has just five all year — three by cornerback Antonio Cromartie and one each by Landry and Allen, who returned his for a touchdown against New England. Yet Ryan said he will continue to start Reed over Allen, unless Reed gets hurt, "because I think Ed gives us the best shot."

"We all saw him miss the tackle on Hartline’s touchdown," Ryan said. "But Ed did his job. I don’t think there’s any doubt. It starts with communication. I thought he did a good job communicating. The ball did not get thrown over us. But again, we weren’t successful, for sure."

Though the Jets did not allow any deep-ball completions against the Dolphins — a bugaboo all season — tackling was the problem in the secondary this time. Milliner missed a tackle on Mike Wallace’s catch and run that resulted in a 28-yard touchdown, and in Milliner being benched for the third time this season.

After his first benching, Milliner did not start in Week 3 against Buffalo. He immediately returned to the starting lineup after being benched in Week 8 at the Bengals. Ryan would not say if Milliner will start Sunday against Oakland.

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Ed Reed still hasn’t won a game this year. And the Jets still can’t defend the deep ball.

But Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn’t about to connect those two dots.

Despite Reed being in the vicinity of Jacoby Jones before a back-breaking 66-yard touchdown pass, Ryan insisted it wasn’t the veteran safety’s fault.
“I’m not going to pin it on any one individual,” Ryan said, via Neil Best of Newsday. “Certainly not on one guy. Certainly not Ed Reed. He’d probably be third on that list, in all honesty.”

The Jets were stacked in a deep coverage designed to prevent such a play, but Reed said he couldn’t find the ball.

“I never really saw the ball,” he said. “I should have played it different. I probably should have just grabbed Jacoby and took the pass interference instead, given the position I was in. . . .

“I mean, they had the wind; it’s just that simple. It was like, here comes a shot . . . What would you do? I tell one of the fastest guys to just run deep and locate the ball, and that’s what he did.”

Sunday was the second time Reed’s lost to the Ravens this year, after once with the Texans before he was cut. And since he missed Houston’s two-game win streak to start the year, and has lost his first two with the Jets, he’s still waiting to experience a victory this season.

“You hate to be on this side of the fence, but somebody wins and somebody has to lose,” he said. “It’s a child’s game we play. We had fun. We have to make our corrections and have to be ready to play next week.”

And while they prepare, they’ll still be working on fixing the problem Reed was supposed to solve.

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Wade Phillips on Ed Reed: The truth is the truth

Jets safety Ed Reed said earlier this week that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is “probably” the reason he was released by the Texans.

Reed also said he thought Phillips’ scheme was a bad fit for him and for some of his former teammates from Houston during his bridge burning session. Phillips was asked about Reed’s comments on Thursday and said he thought that his record spoke for itself in terms of how well his defenses have fit players.

“There’s disappointments in this league and in life. And I believe the way you deal with those things tells a lot about what you are and who you are,” Phillips said, via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. “When we let Ed go, I went down to the training room, I looked him right in the eye, shook hands with him and I said, ‘Thank you. … It was an honor to coach a guy that’s going to be in the Hall of Fame and I wish you good luck.’ The truth is the truth.”

Phillips also said that he’d be cheering for Reed when he does go into the Hall of Fame even though he’s certain Reed won’t choose him to give the induction speech.

Things didn’t work out in Houston for Reed and the Texans and there are fingers to point on both side when it comes to the reasons why it didn’t work out. Hashing them out in public doesn’t do much good for either man since their brief working relationship will wind up being a blip in their histories.

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Andre Johnson & Chris Myers Respond To Reed’s Comments

After being asked about Reed’s comments, several Texans players responded.

“I’m all about my team,” said defensive end J.J. Watt. “And I would assume he’s worried about his. I guess if he wants to continue talking about us that’s fine.”

Before his stint with the Texans, Reed was teammates with Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and center Chris Myers at the Universityicon1 of Miami. They weighed in as well.

“People have feelings. People feel certain ways,” Johnson told SportsRadio 610. “Maybe that’s something he felt when he was here. Other than that, I can’t really speak on it.”

Myers wouldn’t respond to Reed’s comments, but he backed his coaches play-calling.

“I played with Ed in college. And I’ve done it for a long time. He’s a great guy and a quality player,” Myers told SportsRadio 610. “He’s going to probably be a hall of fame player. But when it comes to the play-calling, leave it up to the coaches. And you know, whatever play they call, as long as we run it perfect it’s supposed to work.”

Despite his lack of production, Myers was happy the Texans brought the future Hall of Fame safety aboard:

“He’s a quality player. A much respected player in this league for a long time. And for any team to be able to get him is a huge asset,” said Myers. “Obviously it didn’t work out here, but he’s trying to make his due up in New York now. For us, it was a great chance to be able to have him and be a part of our defense. It just didn’t pan out. It was great having him while we did though.”

Reed will make his second homecoming to Baltimore this season Sunday, this time with the New York Jets. He was released by the Texans last Tuesday.

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Ed Reed blames defensive coordinator for his release from Houston Texans

Back in September, when Ed Reed returned to Baltimore to make his Houston Texans debut, an appreciative crowd at M&T Bank Stadium serenaded him with “Reeeeeeed” as he ran out onto the field and hundreds of fans waited after a blowout Ravens win to pay tribute to one of the greatest players in team history and say goodbye as he disappeared down the tunnel.

No one — especially not Reed — thought he would be back in Baltimore two months later.

But after a bitter divorce with the Texans, who released him last week, Reed has reunited with an old friend in former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, the coach of the New York Jets. He was surprised the Texans let him go but is already comfortable with the Jets.

“Very comfortable,” Reed said on a conference call with Baltimore media. “That was part of my decision signing here, knowing that I knew the defense and could come in here and be effective and not worry about all the B.S. that goes along with the business side of things.”

Reed, who made 16 tackles and intercepted no passes in seven games for the 2-8 Texans, was cheerful and candid for most of a conference call that lasted more than 12 minutes and he was critical of his former team, specifically Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Reed said Phillips was probably “the reason I'm not there.” He said the Houston defense “is not a good fit for a lot of people who are still down there.” And he responded to those who have criticized his play this season by saying that quarterbacks have been avoiding him.

But the 35-year-old doesn’t regret signing with the Texans, who rolled out the red carpet for Reed and gave him a three-year, $15 million deal months after the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

“I’m past it, man. I wasn’t frustrated because God doesn’t make mistakes,” Reed said.

When Reed was released, Ryan rushed upstairs to talk to Jets general manager John Idzik about possibly signing Reed. Ryan said that Idzik already knew he was coming. They agreed that Reed still had something left to give and gave him a one-year deal.

Asked what he would be doing if the Jets hadn’t signed him, Reed replied, “I don’t know. I’m pretty sure someone would have called. I know I wasn’t ready to go play golf.”

Reed made three tackles in last week’s debut, though the Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills.

Ryan, who thought Reed played well, believes it is unfair to compare this Reed to the one who was “the greatest free safety in the history of the sport” while in his prime.

“Let’s see how he finishes this year, because you guys forget, he helped put that ring on your finger with his play even last season,” the coach said on his conference call.

The Ravens drafted Reed in the first round in 2002. He spent a decade in Baltimore, was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. But the Ravens showed no interest in Reed after the Texans cut him.

Some of this former Ravens teammates admitted it will be a little weird seeing Reed, who is wearing No. 22 for the Jets, again with his second team this season.

“That’s pretty weird,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “He has Baltimore in his heart, but he’s representing New York.”

Reed isn’t sure if New York will be the last stop in a career that will likely get him enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is solely focused on the playoff push.

“I’m going through this season, playing the way I play,” Reed said. “I always love football and I always had a vision in my head of how it would go for me. I know I’m still effective and I know the quarterbacks across the league haven’t been throwing the ball my way. I hope it changes this week. It probably won’t, but we’ll see.”

Reed, a non-factor against the Ravens in Week 3, isn’t sure how he will received by Ravens fans on Sunday, acknowledging that the situation is “a little different” this time.

“Those guys are playing for something. We’re playing for something. I’m sure the welcome will be good, though,” Reed said. “I spent a lot of time down in Baltimore and I plan on spending a lot of time in Baltimore after football, so I hope there is a warm welcome.”

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Before Ed Reed joined the Jets, he was courted by Tom Brady

First ballot future Hall of Famer Ed Reed ended up with Jets after they strongly recruited him following being waived by the Texans, but another future first-ballot Hall of Famer wanted him a little further north.

Tom Brady reached out to Reed, sources said, sending texts urging Reed to stop playing against New England and start playing for them, but the Patriots brass did not pursue Reed with any vigor, and the Jets came on strong.

Brady and Reed have long maintained a mutual admiration, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick has said in the past he believes Reed may be the greatest safety ever. Reed was definitely intrigued by the prospect of playing for New England, but after clearing waivers the team did not make official overtures to him. Meanwhile, Reed's former defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, was heavily recruiting him, sending him texts and messages and immediately setting up a visit to the Jets after Reed cleared waivers.

Reed spent considerable time with Jets general manager John Idzik on Wednesday night prior to signing with the Jets on Thursday, and he also passed a very thorough and detailed physical with the Jets doing a review of his hip, which required offseason surgery. Reed has told friends he feels as healthy as he has in a while and his physical condition was not a factor in his star-crossed tenure with the Texans.

Houston wanted to evaluate younger talent, with the team in a seven-game tailspin, and Reed was not playing much. More to the point, he and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips never established a trust or relationship, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, with them having philosophical differences from the onset.

Things were “awkward” from their initial meeting when the Texans had Reed in for a free-agent visit this offseason, sources said, and Reed was mystified by the lack of sophistication in the team's defensive schemes, with a limited number of coverages, red zone, calls, etc. It was not nearly as elaborate as what he was accustomed to with the Ravens and Reed was torn as to how much angst to express to teammates and coaches, since he only just signed with the team a few months back and had not built up any currency there.

Reed could not justify some of the concepts and approaches the Texans take and he was making a very limited impact in their defense. With Ryan there is an immediate bond and Reed has a thorough knowledge of the defense. With Ryan he can act as a coach if need be, will be able to position others and can teach the young players. Ryan believes Reed can still dissuade quarterbacks from the throwing the deep ball, sources said, and believes he can scheme up opportunities for the ballhawk to get his hand on the football, while realizing Reed is not going to be heavily involved in the run game and has some limitations at this stage of his career, as well.

The Jets are seeking more veteran leadership and experience in a young locker room -- vocal leaders like Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis have departed that defense in recent years -- and Red fills that void as well.

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Ed Reed is just what Jets need

Ed Reed no longer has the skills to match his reputation as one of the best ball-hawking safeties in the NFL. Not at age 35 and not with all the attendant bumps and bruises that go along with playing 11-plus seasons in the most physically demanding sport on earth.

But given the unique set of circumstances that led to Reed's ouster in Houston, where he fell out of favor -- and out of the starting lineup -- Rex Ryan's decision to sign one of the greatest players he's ever coached was an excellent move.

For a defense whose only weakness is defending the pass -- especially the long pass -- it was a no-brainer for Ryan to bring in Reed, who will cost the Jets next to nothing on the salary cap but who can add invaluable experience to the secondary.

Reed is well past his prime, and was even in decline when he helped the Ravens to the Super Bowl title last season. But the wisdom he can now impart to his younger teammates, and his savvy as a field general can still be valuable to a Jets team that already has overachieved and is looking at a realistic possibility of making the playoffs.

This is a low-risk, high-reward move for Ryan, who saw Reed's greatness when the two were together in Baltimore with Ryan a defensive coach before coming to the Jets in 2009. There's no way Reed will perform to the level he was at back then, when he was in the heart of a Hall of Fame career. But Reed knows Ryan's system inside and out, and he can be a valuable piece of the Jets' secondary. Especially in dealing with its biggest shortcoming.

"We've had some issues playing the deep ball," Ryan said Thursday. "Let them throw it there now."

The Jets have allowed eight passes of 40 or more yards, 29 passes of 20 yards or more, and opposing quarterbacks have a combined 90.7 rating. The Jets also have allowed 251.9 passing yards per game, the ninth worst mark in the league. And their 25.7 points allowed per game ranks 21st overall.

So why not bring in an experienced hand like Reed to shore things up, even if he isn't the dominating player he once was?

He's a guy who still can lull quarterbacks into thinking he's going one way and then force the passer to throw to the wrong side. And while he can't run like he used to, Reed can play a role similar to other quality veterans on the back end of their careers.

The Texans had hoped Reed would be that kind of player, but he was a bad fit from the start in Wade Phillips' defense. He signed a three-year, $15-million deal during the offseason, but missed all of training camp and the first two games because of a hip problem. Once he did get into the lineup, he underachieved along with the rest of the Texans' roster. Houston was 0-7 with Reed in the lineup.

It didn't help matters that he openly criticized the coaching after a 27-24 loss to the Cardinals last Sunday.

"Certain situations, we just got outplayed and outcoached," Reed said. "If you're watching the game, it's not no-brainers . . . Eventually, they're going to figure out what you're doing if you're doing the same old things."

Reed was summarily released, although head coach Gary Kubiak, who returned this week after recovering from a mild stroke, said Reed's comments had nothing to do with the decision.

Ummm. Sure.

Reed was also outspoken during his run with the Ravens, and last year got into a heated exchange with head coach John Harbaugh because Reed believed the practices were too physical. The two eventually cleared the air, and the Ravens went on a late-season run to win the Super Bowl.

Reed was not re-signed because of his contractual demands, and he took the money with the Texans. But once his time there ended, the most logical destination was the one he chose: with the coach who knows him best and the defensive system that helped make him a star.

"[Reed] is another guy that can turn an interception into a touchdown and make big plays, something that we've been missing," veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie said. "It just speaks for [itself] for what he can bring to the table and what the coaching staff and everybody thought of him. He's a guy that's been a part of this defense for a while, so he knows the defense just as good as anybody else."

A logical choice for the Jets, and a perfect landing spot for Reed.

"Awesome, man. I don't think either one of us was willing to pass this chance up," Reed said of his reunion with Ryan. "It just fit."

Another veteran player for a team and a coach convinced they're ready to make a playoff run.

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Ed Reed says Patriots and Dolphins also called

Veteran safety Ed Reed was quick to cut a deal with the Jets, but said upon his arrival in New York that the Patriots and Dolphins also touched base over the last 24 hours.

“I don’t think either one of them wanted me in their conference,” Reed said, via Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger.

While the admiration Patriots coach Bill Belichick has for Reed is well-documented, the Dolphins pursuit seems unusual (or either a PR ploy to make everybody look at something other than Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin).

Reed said he was confident that he could still play at a high level, saying: “I don’t think I’d be here if they [the Jets] didn’t think that,” he said. “I know what I know. I know what I feel and I know what I put into my offseason workout.”

He also took offense at the suggestion he was old and washed up, saying he was unfairly portrayed as having lost a step during his short stint with the Texans.

“When you critique me, you’ve got to critique everybody,” he said. “But it seems that Ed Reed is held to a higher standard – and I created that monster. I’ve been blessed to create that monster. I love it. I’m all for it.”

What he can offer the Jets remains to be seen, but the fact there was a degree of demand — especially within the division — justifies the purchase for the Jets regardless.

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Source: Jets showing interest in Ed Reed

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are interested in free-agent safety Ed Reed, a league source told ESPN.com Wednesday night.

Their level of interest wasn't immediately known, but it appears to be more than cursory. The New England Patriots have been mentioned as another suitor.

The future Hall of Famer, released Tuesday by the Houston Texans, cleared waivers Wednesday afternoon. Two hours before he hit the open market, Rex Ryan sounded intrigued by Reed, whom he once coached in Baltimore. Ryan acknowledged that he discussed Reed with general manager John Idzik, but he stopped short of saying they planned to pursue him.

"I could say absolutely, yes, I'd like him on our team," said Ryan, who tried to camouflage his interest by mentioning several other former players he'd like to have back but couldn't.

By early evening, however, the Jets had reached out to Reed, the source said.

Ryan and Reed spent seven seasons together with the Baltimore Ravens, from 2002 to 2008. Two years ago, Ryan called him the greatest safety in history.

On Wednesday, Ryan suggested the decision was out of his hands.

"The big picture of right now, the current football team, I'm probably not the right guy to make all those decisions," Ryan said. "I think sometimes there's a comfort level in knowing guys, without question, guys that certainly played well for you. ... I'd like those guys, without question."

The Jets' current starters at safety are Dawan Landry, who played alongside Reed from 2006 to 2010 in Baltimore, and Antonio Allen. Ryan praised Allen, saying he "has a chance to be really good." The third safety is Jaiquawn Jarrett. The trio has combined for only two interceptions.

Rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said he'd welcome Reed.

"I don't have any say in that, but most definitely, as long as he could come in and contribute," he said.

Tight end Kellen Winslow, who played with Reed at the University of Miami, believes he still can be an impact player at age 35.

"Please. Are you kidding me? He's the best I've ever seen do it at safety," Winslow said. "He's going to land somewhere and wreak havoc. I'd love to have him here. He's the ultimate leader. In our defense, he'd be able to gamble all he wants. He's a great asset, a smart player."

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Ed Reed Goes Unclaimed on Waivers, Becomes Free Agent

Ed Reed is now available, and NFL teams can do a little wheeling and dealing to sign the veteran safety. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Reed has passed through waivers, which means the 35-year-old is now a free agent.

The Houston Texans placed Reed on waivers Tuesday despite the fact he is in the first year of a three-year deal signed in the offseason. It’s important that Reed is now a free agent, of course, as any team claiming him on waivers would have had to pay him the rest of his contract. Now that he’s free agent, teams are obviously able to negotiate with him and his camp.

Reed was once one of the best safeties in the game, but age is starting to catch up to him, and he’s not the player he once was. With the Texans struggling and Reed’s play slipping, they were forced to eat money to part ways with him as they continue the season with an eye toward the future.

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Ed Reed's potential landing spots include Patriots, Jets

Now that the Houston Texans are cutting ties with Ed Reed, the veteran safety will take just over $400,000 in remaining salary to the waiver wire.
He will end up collecting $5 million in guarantees for his seven games in Houston.

The playoff picture

In the competitive disadvantage stage of his career, Reed is no sure bet to be claimed this week. In fact, it's quite possible that he's played his last NFL game.

If Reed does manage to latch on with a playoff contender, though, here is a list of potential landing spots:

1. New England Patriots: Reed and Patriots coach Bill Belichick have long formed a mutual admiration society, and the Patriots could use the depth with Steve Gregory injured.

2. New York Jets: Rex Ryan has a soft spot for his former Ravens stars, as evidenced by his reluctance to part with a declining Bart Scott. The Jets like starter Antonio Allen, but he's been a liability in coverage at times.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Reed has referred to Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who recruited him to the University of Miami, as a father figure. With LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea locked in as starters, there's no obvious role for Reed in Indy's secondary.

4. New Orleans Saints: Rookie Kenny Vaccaro is dealing with a concussion, so there's no long-term need at safety. Reed does have roots in Louisiana, however, and the team showed cursory interest in the offseason.

5. Dallas Cowboys: Jeff Heath has been an abject disaster as a fill-in for injured rookie J.J. Wilcox the past two weeks. Reed would be a temporary Band-Aid, but how would he take his second demotion of the season once Wilcox is healthy again?

6. Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome have moved on, drafting Matt Elam as Reed's replacement. ProFootballTalk confirms the Ravens will not claim Reed on waivers.

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Ed Reed out in Houston

Ed Reed’s stint in Houston was a short one.

Reed, the veteran safety who signed with the Texans this season, will be released today, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

The news makes a lot of sense, as Reed has been a disappointment on the field and is expressing frustration off the field. Reed’s playing time has been in decline, and on Sunday he said the Texans were out-coached in their loss to the Cardinals, which couldn’t have endeared him to the coaching staff.

Although Reed was once a great safety, at age 35 he’s not the player now that he was in his prime with the Ravens.

Like all players who are released after the trade deadline, Reed is subject to waivers. It will be interesting to see whether the Ravens put in a claim for him, but considering that they didn’t show much interest in keeping him in the offseason, they may not have much interest in bringing him back now.

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Wade Phillips downplays comments from Ed Reed

Because coach Gary Kubiak went home early today, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips – the interim coach – met with the media.

Phillips was asked about free safety Ed Reed’s comment that the Texans were outplayed and outcoached in Sunday’s 27-24 loss at Arizona.

“Everybody has their own feelings about what’s happening,” Phillips said. “They have their own ideas about what’s happening or didn’t happen. We try to keep everything in house. That’s our policy here. That’s what we try to do, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Asked why Reed didn’t keep his opinion “in house,” Phillips said, “I really don’t have an answer for that question. Like I said, a lot of people have opinions about what should or shouldn’t be done and those kinds of things.”

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Ed Reed No Longer Starting

When the Texans signed Ed Reed last offseason to a three-year, $15 million, they were probably expecting something more than one of the league's worst safeties. But through nine weeks, that's exactly what they have. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Reed ranks 72nd out of 85 players at the position.

Although Reed is still listed as a starter, he played just 32 snaps in last week's loss to the Colts; Shiloh Keo was on the field for 49 snaps and D.J. Swearinger played 63. Reed, meanwhile, saw the field mostly in the team's dime package.

“That's something that's best for the team and whatever is best for the team that's what we got to do” Swearinger told SportsRadio 610. “I would like to see him out there a lot but that's out of my hands, out of his hands and you know, that's what is best for the team.”

Reed missed the first two games of the season recovering from a hip injury. In the six games since, he has 16 tackles, is still looking for his first interception and has yet to defend a single pass.

Still, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is also serving as interim coach in Gary Kubiak's absence, said Thursday (via the Houston Chronicle) that the team is getting what it wants from Reed. That said, Phillips was noncommittal when asked if the veteran safety would remain the starter.

Reed is set to make $4 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015 -- neither year is guaranteed -- which means that the Texans could cut ties with him this offseason.

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Ed Reed says he can still do all the things he’s ever done

Ed Reed is an eight-time All-Pro, a former Defensive Player of the Year and was voted one of the Top 100 players in NFL history. That’s the player the Texans hoped they were getting when they signed Reed as a free agent this year.

But it hasn’t been the player the Texans got. Reed himself admitted that he had a rough game in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, and almost everyone who has seen him play this year would agree that he’s a long way from his prime. But the 35-year-old Reed still believes he can play the way he needs to play.

“I’m still focused,” Reed told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m still able to do the things that I know I can do, that I’ve been doing. It’s just a matter of getting opportunities and taking advantage of those opportunities. I can’t be lackadaisical when it’s time for me to make any play, whether it’s a tackle, fumble recovery, anything that it might be. [You] definitely will see a change.”

Reed doesn’t have any interceptions this season, but he said that’s simply because, “I’m not getting the ball thrown my way.” The reality, however, is that teams tried to throw away from Reed in Baltimore, and he found a way to make plays. In Houston he’s not making those plays, even if he thinks he still can.

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Ed Reed wants to be tested

HOUSTON -- Last season quarterbacks targeted Ed Reed 38 times and he allowed a passer rating of 87.1, according to Pro Football Focus. In 2011, they did so 37 times and he allowed a passer rating of 41.8. In 2010, the season Reed started on the physically unable to perform list after having hip surgery, Reed was targeted 30 times and he gave up a passer rating of 71.5 and allowed four touchdowns.

This year?

Reed has played in five games and been targeted three times.

He wants that to change.

"I don’t think none of them are going to test me," Reed said. "I hope so. I’m looking forward to it. I want them to test me. That way I can really showcase the question marks that everybody’s putting up."

Those question marks come form those wondering how effective Reed can be anymore. He's battled two injuries, but he says his health is fine right now.

"My grade scale tends to be a little bit higher, but that’s fine by me," Reed said. "Overall, I think Sunday was probably my worst one since I’ve been here, though it wasn’t that bad. I’m not getting the ball thrown my way. It tends to be, ‘Where’s Ed? Where’s Ed?’ Where is the ball going?

"I’m still focused. I’m still able to do the things that I know I can do, that I’ve been doing. It’s just a matter of getting opportunities and taking advantage of those opportunities. But at the same time, I can’t be lackadaisical. So when it’s time for me to make any play, whether it’s a tackle, fumble recovery, anything that it might be. Definitely will see a change."

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Ed Reed 'nicked up' MCL vs. San Francisco

Ed Reed says he isn't "near where he wants to be physically," and that he "nicked up" his MCL in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.
That sounds concerning, but Reed has been limited in this week's practices, and appears ready to suit up for Week 6 against the Rams. He just won't be anywhere near 100 percent. With 136 snaps under his belt, Reed has graded out as the No. 35 safety in Pro Football Focus' ratings.

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Ed Reed: Football business 'shady'

HOUSTON -- That the NFL knew about the dangerous effect concussions have on players' brains long before publicly acknowledging the link doesn't sit well with Texans safety Ed Reed.

"The business of football is shady," Reed told ESPN.com. "The business of football is very shady. The fact that they would withhold information is bad. The fact that our [collective bargaining agreement] would not want that information, the fact that our older players would take money instead of getting that information is bad. The business of football, NFL football, is shady. Now we can't get that information anymore? It's just swept under the rug? That's bad."

A two-decades-long campaign to deny scientific research that connected brain damage to football is revealed in the book "League of Denial," written by ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. Excerpts of the book appeared in ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated this week.
The book's release will come about six weeks after the NFL settled a lawsuit with former players for $765 million. The plaintiffs in the suit had claimed the league hid the connection between football and brain damage.

Reed, who is in his 12th NFL season, expressed both outrage and a lack of surprise. Texans running back Arian Foster, too, said the report made sense.

"It's about expanding the brand and getting a bigger business," Foster told ESPN.com. "That's what I signed up for. I know what concussions do. I do my own research. I talk to many neuroscientists. It is what it is. It's not good for you. That's the risk I take to provide for my family."

The book reports the league used its power to discredit independent scientists who warned of the link between concussions and brain diseases, relying instead on its own research and a public relations campaign to keep the public from knowing what league executives knew about the effect of concussions.
The cover-up began under former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and continued under Roger Goodell, the book says.

"It's a little scary," Texans left tackle Duane Brown told ESPN.com. "I've seen cases where guys look pretty bad. And to think that maybe it could've been prevented, it's a little disappointing. I don't know. I don't know much about it so I don't want to comment too much but that's a bit scary to think about."

Foster recalled the days before the current emphasis on concussions, when players were "considered soft" if they weren't able to shake off a concussion. Now players must pass a thorough concussion protocol before being allowed to return to a game. Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he cannot return to the same game.

Foster said he did his own research, with the help of his stepfather, who is a geneticist, when concussions first became a hot-button issue. He is generally skeptical about the NFL's commitment to player safety, despite the league's public emphasis on the matter.

"I think the league kind of cloaks their wanting to make the league safe, though," Foster said. "If you want to make the league safe, cut out 'Thursday Night Football.' Do something like that. Don't have guys wear pads on their legs. That's not making anybody safe. It's more like a political move that they try to make things safe. It's a combative sport. It happens. They kind of use that to make themselves look a little better, make themselves look like they care a little more than they do."

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Ed Reed has strong practice

Veteran safety Ed Reed had a strong practice Wednesday, coach Gary Kubiak said, and continues to show improvement.

“He took his reps with the defense, took a lot of scout team, too,” Kubiak said. “Getting him through last week was huge for him. I like the way he moved around (Wednesday).”

After sitting out Weeks 1 and 2, Reed made his Texans debut last Sunday at Baltimore.

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Ed Reed says he will ‘always be a Raven’

BALTIMORE — Ed Reed insisted it won’t be an emotional day for him. His return to the place where he played for 11 seasons to face an organization he won a Super Bowl with seven months ago is just “another away game right now.”

But as Reed continued to talk, he offered a glimpse of the emotional tug he probably will experience Sunday when he returns to Baltimore to face the Ravens as a member of the Houston Texans.

He admits to thinking about the short drive to M&T Bank Stadium from a downtown hotel and the familiar walk past security guards whom he has shaken hands with on game days for years. But that’s where things get fuzzy because his destination has never been the visitor’s locker room.

“I still got a lot of thinking to do,” Reed said Thursday in a conference call with local reporters. “My time in Baltimore was awesome, every bit of it. I have no regrets from when [General Manager Ozzie Newsome] called me on draft day, to being in the old facility, practicing in the snow with [coach Brian Billick] and just everything we went through with Coach [John Harbaugh] and growing. Iron sharpening iron. I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great friends.
“I always will be a Raven. That’s where I was kind of raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing, and we did a lot of special things. That’s something that can never be taken away, and it never will. There’s a lot of love there.”

Reed, the ball-hawking safety who has built a future Hall of Fame career on surprising quarterbacks, seems intent on keeping everybody guessing until the very end. Signed by the Texans in late March, Reed has yet to suit up for a game with his new team because he’s recovering from April surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. He said he’s still dealing with tightness and soreness and he has a “lot of work to do” before he returns to game action.

“I’m not confident about nothing but going day-to-day, the way I’ve been,” Reed said when asked whether he’s confident he’ll play Sunday. “You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”

Never mind that none of his former teammates believe he would miss an opportunity to play again in front of fans who cheered him loudly every time he got his hands near the football for more than a decade. Never mind that former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, his longtime teammate and close friend, will be at M&T Bank Stadium to be inducted to the team’s Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. Never mind that Reed has been practicing for several weeks and his current coach, Gary Kubiak, said Wednesday the nine-time Pro Bowl selection is as close to playing as he has been.

In the 10-plus minute conference call, Reed was at his mercurial best, talking more about “coaching” against the Ravens than playing against them — for whatever that’s worth.

“Just looking at the whole team, it just looks a little different for me, especially being on this side of things,” Reed said. “I was looking at it last night like, ‘Wow, this is something that I’m really coaching against my boys.’ ”

Asked whether he anticipated being emotional Sunday, Reed said “not at all,” comparing it to all the games he played against the Indianapolis Colts and standout wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who was his former roommate in college at Miami.

“It’s like playing against your brothers again while I’m out there coaching,” Reed said. “I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. It’s different being here and coming to see my guys, who I’ve been fighting with for a long time.”

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Ed Reed a Raven evermore

Much has happened since the last time Texans safety Ed Reed took the field at M&T Bank Stadium, including the Baltimore Ravens winning the Super Bowl.

But just because he’s no longer a Raven after 11 seasons doesn’t mean Baltimoreans don’t still hold him dear.

“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve still got it,’ ” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh after his team spoiled Reed’s homecoming 30-9. “I didn’t call him an old man. He played very well, just like we expected he would.

“There’s a tremendous respect and love there. He’s a Texan now, but Ed Reed will forever be a Raven.”

Reed chatted with his former teammates before the game, then was the last man leaving the field when it was over.

“It was awesome to see Ed again,” Ravens safety James Ihedigbo said. “In talking to him he continued to encourage me. He’s helped so much in my development as a safety. I thanked him for that.”

Then Ihedigbo and the rest of Reed’s old buddies went out and ruined his new team’s day.

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Ed Reed likely to make Texans’ debut against former team

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Ed Reed’s workout Thursday was “the most aggressive we’ve had him in situations in practice” and, barring a setback, it seems likely he’ll make his Texans debut in Baltimore, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his career.

Because the Texans practice in pads on Thursdays, it’s the best test for players like Reed who are returning from injuries. He had off-season hip surgery and missed all of training camp.

“It went good today,” Kubiak said. “Another big step forward. All indications are we’re heading in the right direction. We’re going to continue to watch him coming out of a tough practice. How does he feel tomorrow? Is he sore as we head into the weekend? But he’s really practicing well right now. That’s all I can tell you.”

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took it a step further and noted how Reed has made several of the kind of “ball-hawking plays” in practice this week that he came to be known for as a Raven. He’s the NFL’s active leader in interceptions with 61.

Shiloh Keo will start at free safety against the Ravens, but Reed could figure prominently in special cover packages. Best case, he’s likely still a few weeks away from playing an entire game.

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Ray Lewis: There’s “Something Really Wrong” If Ed Reed Doesn’t Play Vs. Ravens

Ed Reed is still Ed Reed. He may be in a different city, wearing a different uniform, playing for a different team, but he’s still the same guy.

“This team has aspirations to win the championship and that’s what we’re shooting for and it’s a long way from now,” Reed told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about his hip injury. “For as long as I’ve been in the league, I know that it takes a lot and it puts a lot of strain on the body. You got to be smart about what you’re doing.”

Who knows if Reed will play on Sunday? I don’t even think Reed knows, but his former teammate Ray Lewis thinks he’ll suit up.

“I would be (surprised). I would be, because then that would tell me that his injury hasn’t totally healed yet,” Lewis said during a media interview according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. “Because if he can’t go the third week into the regular season – that’s what they got him there for – if he can’t go, then there’s still something really wrong.”

Reed downplayed Sunday’s game saying that his rehab won’t be changed for any opponent. “It’s about being there for the long haul, being there for the team when it really counts, and that’s playoffs, the Super Bowl, the AFC championship game.”

We talked with Kris Jones of Russell Street Report on our podcast this week, he thinks Reed will play against the Ravens and cited the Baltimore’s lack of interest in bringing him back as motivation for Reed’s 2013 debut. I completely agree.

Still there’s some comfort knowing that Ed is still Ed.

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This isn't the return Ed Reed envisioned

HOUSTON -- He knew it was coming, this day of public reflection about returning to a place where he spent the first 11 years of his career.

In the midst of telling an assembled crowd that how much he looked forward to being back in Baltimore, Ed Reed slipped in a revealing line.

"Never thought I’d be in these shoes," he said.

He's likely not alone.

On Sunday as the Texans head to Baltimore to try and get their first road win over the Ravens, the team will honor one of the best defensive players in franchise history. Another one of the best defensive players in their franchise history will be on the opposite sideline, though it's still unclear whether he'll play.

To Reed, the situation is just a demonstration of how the NFL works.

"I came into the NFL in 2003 and I was hearing not for long, not for long, NFL, not for long," Reed said. "My locker was by the free agents in that locker room. I watched guys come and go. I didn’t know how I was going to pan out. I saw Peyton Manning get (cut). I knew Joe Montana went to Kansas City. I know Jerry Rice went to Oakland. Played against him in Oakland. I was a huge 49er fan growing up. So I saw a lot of stuff, I knew about the business coming from the University of Miami. That’s the reason why I stayed five years. I didn’t know how it was going to happen.

"After my second contract, I thought I would have been there. But even then, you just don’t know. I kind of knew about free agent stuff when Ray [Lewis] went through it. It’s the business. I learned a lot being around Ozzie [Newsome], talking to Ozzie a lot. You just never know what’s going to happen."

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Ed Reed Will Always Cherish Ravens

Ed Reed insists Sunday’s matchup between the Ravens and Texans is just another game.

Reed tried to downplay facing his former team, which could be his debut for the Texans, but the more he talked it was clear that Sunday could be an emotional return for the long-time Raven.

It will be Reed’s first time back at M&T Bank Stadium since the Ravens celebrated their Super Bowl XLVII title seven months ago, and his running mate Ray Lewis will also return to get inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor at halftime.

“It’s a special day,” Reed said. “It really is going to be a special day, with me coming back, Ray going into the Ring of Honor, the Texans playing the Ravens.”
Whether Reed actually plays in his return to Baltimore is still up in the air. He is recovering from offseason hip surgery and has missed the first two games of the regular season. Reed has practiced this week, but was still non-committal about his status for Sunday.

“I’m not confident about nothing but going day-to-day the way I’ve been,” Reed said. “There’s no confidence about it if I haven’t played. You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”

Reed maintained that it wouldn’t be any more difficult for him to sit out against the Ravens.

“Not at all,” Reed said. “Like I said, I’m preparing for the long haul.”

The 35-year-old safety signed with the Texans this offseason following 11 seasons in Baltimore where he built a Hall of Fame resume. Houston signed him to a three-year deal reportedly worth $15 million, and Reed said that once he hit free agency this summer he thought there was only about a 50-50 chance he would remain a Raven.

Reed took the better offer in Houston, and said he’s not bitter at all about the way his career in Baltimore ended.

“I have no regrets about being a Raven and things transpired how they do – it’s a business,” Reed said. 

Reed spoke glowingly about his time in Baltimore, and admitted that it could be tough going into the opposing team’s locker room for the first time this week.
“Baltimore is family,” he said. “I miss walking into ‘The Bank’ on Sunday.

“I have a lot of memories; I cherish that and always will. Being a Raven, that’s where I was raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing; we did a lot of special things. That’s something that could never be taken away and never will. There’s a lot of love there.”

Reed used to talk about finishing his career in Baltimore, and after the Super Bowl he spoke openly about winning back-to-back titles for the Ravens.
Now he’s guaranteeing a Super Bowl for his new team.

“You remember me saying I wanted to repeat, and I still will repeat, just with a different team,” Reed said.

The Ravens have said they want Reed to have a place in the organization when he retires, and his former teammates and coaches had nothing but positive things to say about him during the week. Reed was a fan favorite and iconic leader in the Ravens’ locker room, and players are looking forward to re-connecting for a moment on Sunday.

 “It was a sad day when he left,” Webb said. “I know I wish he was still here. It’s going to be great just for me seeing him again. It’s just going to be great to see how the crowd reacts to him.”

The Ravens have cheered Reed on for years, even before he was their teammate.

“I think it’s strange just because everybody views him as a Raven,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “The fact of the matter is that I knew Ed Reed as a Baltimore Raven before I started playing on the Baltimore Ravens. So, it makes it a little bit different. It kind of makes him a little bit more than a teammate of mine. At one point, I was a fan of his.”

That said, his friends know that for this week they have to emphasize that he’s another player on the opposing sideline.

“I’ll be happy to be out there to see him, but he’s my opponent,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs added. “He’s no longer wearing our colors, and we will try to win the game.”

Much has changed in the few months that Reed left Baltimore. He and Lewis are gone, along with six other starters from the Super Bowl team. Flacco and Suggs have taken over as the team leaders.

Reed even said it was “weird” watching the Ravens on film and seeing all the changes.

Now Reed will get a chance to come back to the place where he grew up in the NFL, possibly for the final time as a player, and enjoy the atmosphere of a place where he created so many lasting memories.

“My time in Baltimore was awesome – every bit of it,” Reed said.  “I have no regrets, from when Ozzie [Newsome] called me on draft day to being in the old facility, practicing in the snow with [former head coach Brian] Billick, and everything we went through with coach ‘Harbs’ and growing, iron sharpening iron.

“I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great friends. And at the end of the day, I know it’s just football that we’re coaching against and playing against, so a lot of great memories.”

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Gary Kubiak says Ed Reed is as close to return as he has been

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak can’t say definitively at this point that Ed Reed will play Sunday against his former team. However, he said in a conference call with Ravens’ reporters today that the safety is “as close to playing as [he has] been.”

“His progress has been really good,” Kubiak said. “It was a tough decision [last] Sunday because I think he was very, very close, but we decided to go in the other direction. We’ll see where we’re at. It’s a day-to-day deal. We’ll see. He’s ready to go practice today and take an even bigger load than he has been taking the first two weeks. I think we just continue to go day-to-day and hopefully we’ll get there this week.”

Reed, who signed with the Texans in March after he played 11 seasons with the Ravens, has yet to appear in a game with the Texans following arthroscopic hip surgery that he had in April to repair a torn labrum.

Kubiak said that Reed has brought presence and leadership to the Texans and “hopefully, [he’s] healthy enough to where that now transfers to the field with the guys.”

Reed, who turned 35 last week, is hardly the Texans’ only injury concern. Star wide receiver Andre Johnson sustained a concussion in Houston’s overtime victory last week over the Tennessee Titans when he was hit by former Ravens safety Bernard Pollard.

However, Kubiak is optimistic that Johnson will play against the Ravens.

“He’s done really good,” Kubiak said. “In his protocol process today, he’ll work with the trainers. He’s expected to practice with the team tomorrow in pads. That would be, I think, step four or step five, however that process works. But all indicators are if everything goes well throughout the course of the week, he should be ready to go. But we’ll see where we’re at each day.”

Kubiak also called standout left tackle Duane Brown “an end of the week decision.” Brown is dealing with a sprained toe.

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Ed Reed's homecoming brings mixed emotions

There's no question that safety Ed Reed has a permanent place in Baltimore Ravens history. He is the third-best player to ever wear purple in Baltimore, right behind Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden.

Whether Reed has a special place in all of the Ravens' hearts like Ogden and Lewis -- that's a different story. He gave the Ravens organization headaches over his 11 seasons in Baltimore, although he always gave opposing quarterbacks 10 times more.

Reed, who is coming back to Baltimore for the first time since signing with the Houston Texans in free agency, will be revered for his game-changing plays and how he forced offenses to totally change their game plans because of him. Players and coaches would sometimes look at Reed in awe because they knew they were watching the one of the greatest safeties in NFL history at work.

He was an influential leader for the Ravens. He was a trusted big brother. But Reed was also a loose cannon, which made him great as well as frustrating. No one knew where Reed would pop up on the field, and that included quarterbacks and teammates alike. Reed trusted his instincts over the defensive game plan at times, which made him dangerous and unpredictable.

Nobody in the Ravens organization will speak one disparaging word about Reed because they've given him the respect that sometimes wasn't returned.

A year and a half ago Reed called out Joe Flacco in the week leading up to the AFC Championship Game. Reed described Flacco as "kind of rattled" a day after the AFC divisional playoff win over Houston and said the quarterback didn't have "a hold on the offense."

In June 2012, Reed was the only player who didn't show up for mandatory minicamp. If that wasn't a big enough slap in the face, Reed never called coach John Harbaugh to explain why he skipped it. Reed tweeted a few weeks later that he was doing yardwork, writing "Tell the bosses I'm comfortable!"

Last October, Reed was among the dissenting voices when Harbaugh announced the team was going to have a full-contact practice during the bye week.

Reed isn't a bad guy. Not even close. He's a mercurial one. And no one can argue with his results. Reed is a nine-time Pro Bowl player. He was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, the first safety in 20 years to win the award. He led the league in interceptions for three seasons, and he holds the NFL record for most career interception return yards (1,541) and longest interception return (108 yards).

This legacy makes the reunion unlike any other. Sure, the Ravens have played former teammates like pass-rusher Paul Kruger on Sunday. This is different because of what Reed represents.

The Ravens never had to play Lewis or Ogden. The organization made sure they were Ravens for life. But, when Reed hit the open market, the Ravens didn't match the Texans' three-year, $15 million contract that included $6 million guaranteed.

"I think it's strange just because everybody views him as a Raven," Flacco said. "The fact of the matter is that I knew Ed Reed as a Baltimore Raven before I started playing on the Baltimore Ravens. So, it makes it a little bit different. It kind of makes him a little bit more than a teammate of mine. At one point, I was a fan of his. That's what makes it different for everybody around Baltimore and everybody around the country is that they know him as a Baltimore Raven."

Reed was as big of a leader as Lewis. He just did it behind the scenes. He invited the defensive backs to his home, where they broke down film and played video games.

His commitment to the community was just as strong. He adopted an inner-city middle school soon after arriving in Baltimore in 2002, and he would appear unannounced on Tuesday, his day off, to talk to the kids about respecting elders, eating right and staying out of trouble.

When Reed signed with the Texans, he took out a full-page ad in The Baltimore Sun. "My eleven seasons in Baltimore were more than I would have ever imagined, which is why I have such deep love for you all," Reed wrote.

"Reed is like a big brother to me," said wide receiver Torrey Smith, who still texts back and forth with Reed. "He's a guy that I respected long before I became a Raven, and I've grown closer to him since I've been in the league."

Smith added, "He's one of the best safeties ever, and he still plays at a very high level. There's definitely something special about Reed, and we know as receivers, we're going to have to be on our p's and q's because he guesses right a lot of time, and we can't just give him anything."

There is a question whether Reed will play against the Ravens. He's missed the first two games with a surgically repaired hip and was limited in practice Wednesday. Nearly every one of the Ravens players said Wednesday they believe Reed will suit up Sunday, although defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said he hopes Reed doesn't.

Does Reed know Flacco better than any safety in the league?

"I don't know," Flacco said. "I'm sure he'd tell you he probably does."

This isn't the type of reunion that many had envisioned with Reed. When the team's all-time greats return like Lewis and Ogden, it's to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, not standing on the other sideline. But, as the Ravens found out after a decade with Reed, you could never predict what's going to happen with him.

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Ed Reed focused on playoffs for Texans, not Ravens

The Houston Texans signed Ed Reed to be the missing piece in their secondary.

So far, the decorated safety has simply been missing. Reed, recovering from offseason hip surgery, sat out both Texans' wins to start the season, and remains a question mark with his old team, the Baltimore Ravens, up next on the schedule.

Reed was a call-in guest Tuesday on "The Rich Eisen Podcast," where he explained why missing a game against the team he won a Super Bowl with seven months ago wouldn't be the end of the world.

"It's nothing that urged me to play this week, you know I didn't circle this on the calendar," Reed explained. "I said it earlier in the offseason that with my rehab I'm not preparing to play against San Diego or Tennessee or even the Ravens.

"It's about being there for the long haul," Reed continued, "being there for the team when it really counts, and that's playoffs, the Super Bowl, AFC Championship Game."

Sunday will provide some extra nostalgia for Reed as the Ravens induct longtime teammate Ray Lewis into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime. Reed doesn't project any bitterness about his departure from Baltimore, where he starred for 11 seasons.

"Everything that transpired between me and the Ravens is business, you know I had a great career there," Reed said. "I never saw myself playing against the Ravens so nothing in my heart, my soul that's urging me to play."

"I know it's a special day because yeah, my boy is going in the Ring of Honor, more than deserved for him," Reed added. "I always pictured myself on the sidelines watching that happen at halftime or something."

Reed will be in the building for Lewis' big celebration. Whether he'll be on the sideline -- or in uniform -- remains to be seen.

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Harbaugh believes Ed Reed will play

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn't have any insider knowledge on Ed Reed's health status. But Harbaugh does know Reed, having coached the Pro Bowl safety for five seasons.

That's why Harbaugh believes Reed will be suited up to play his former team Sunday, when the Ravens meet the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Reed tested out his surgically repaired hip before the Texans' game Sunday in pregame warmups before ultimately deciding to sit out his second straight game.

"We'll have to assume that he's going to play," Harbaugh said. "We'd be surprised if he didn't play in this game."

Reed, 35, went to nine Pro Bowls during his 11 seasons with the Ravens and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. He holds the NFL record for the two longest interception returns (106 yards in 2004 and 108 yards in 2008). He also is the all-time league leader for interception return yards (1,506) and postseason interceptions (nine).

Reed left the Ravens to sign with the Texans in free agency six months ago, agreeing to a three-year, $15 million contract that included $6 million guaranteed.

For years, Harbaugh saw how teams would have to game plan for Reed and how he changed games. Now, the Ravens have to figure out a way to attack Reed if he's on the field Sunday.

"It's a little tougher because we haven't seen him on tape, so we really don't know how he fits into their defense," Harbaugh said. "We'll have to fit him into their scheme, which in a lot of ways is similar to what we've done here. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out where he's going to be. We'll just kind of envision him out there playing the way he's played for us all of those years."

The return of Reed coincides with the Ravens inducting linebacker Ray Lewis into the team's Ring of Honor. Lewis and Reed were the longtime faces of the Ravens' dominant defenses. Lewis retired after last season, which culminated in a Super Bowl title.

"It'll be great to see Ray for us," Harbaugh said. "I don't know how emotional we'll be about that. We'll be emotional about the game and we'll feel great about Ray being here for that. It's a great honor. It's something we'll all take pride in. Maybe Ray will be ready to give us a little fire-up talk."

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Ed Reed game-time decision for Week 2

Texans FS Ed Reed (hip) is a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Titans.

According to coach Gary Kubiak, Reed wouldn't start even if he was active, leaving Shioh Keo to play opposite SS Danieal Manning. Reed has barely practiced since signing his three-year, $15 million deal. We don't expect him to play this week.

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Ed Reed gets a walker for his birthday

It was wrapped in bright, colorful paper and placed next to Ed Reed’s locker.

When the just-turned 35-year-old unwrapped his birthday present, the unveiling came with an announcement.

“It’s a platinum walker,” Reed joked.

Free safety Danieal Manning gave the gift to the 12-year veteran. The Texans also presented Reed with a Hall-of-Fame jacket cake.

Despite having not played a game in a Texans uniform, Reed’s already become a hit during practices and in the locker room. And his steadily advancing age has become an easy target for constant humor.

“Because his birthday’s on 9-11, we were asking him, like, ‘Where were you at on 9-11? And he was like, he was in college in his senior year,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “And I was, like, ‘Wow, I was a junior in high school.’ So, yeah, it is funny.”

As for the veteran safety’s playing status?

“I’ll probably answer that question better (Thursday) … when we go back out there and get our pads on for a little bit again,” coach Gary Kubiak said.

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More on Ed Reed's injections

SAN DIEGO -- The news came from our Adam Schefter this morning that safety Ed Reed isn't expected to play in tonight's season opener.

It's not exactly unexpected, although the Texans spent all week insisting he had a chance.

When Reed spoke on Friday, it sounded less likely, though. He talked more specifically about the injections he received in Vail, Colo., from his hip surgeon, Dr. Marc Philippon. I held off on writing exactly what Reed said until I could offer some more insight. For that, I consulted our medical expert, Stephania Bell.

Here's what Reed said: "Those injections, it takes like two weeks to kick in and two weeks will be Monday, Monday night. I still kind of feel the injections, the needles are this long. Put me to sleep basically. I had four of them all in the same spot. It's a little different feeling for me. ... Once you get the blood flowing a little bit and everything, I'm starting to feel a lot better. You can say that I got a step or two back. ... The injections basically, in layman's terms, helped speed up the healing process. Takes the blood out, spin it, if I'm not mistaken, I could be saying it wrong, put the good blood back in."

Based on that description, Bell said Reed's injections sounded like platelet-rich plasma injections, whose efficacy for certain conditions are still debated within the medical community. The thinking by those in favor of PRP injections is that there is only upside to doing them because injecting a person's own blood back into his body doesn't introduce anything synthetic.

"The intent behind these injections is to promote healing in the area," she said. "It's not necessarily routine.

"... Is the hip going to be perfect in a player with extensive wear and tear on the joint? Nope. But that's not necessarily the goal. Being functional so it's not constantly painful so he can still perform at a high level is."

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Ed Reed will be game-time decision against Chargers

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after practice today that free safety Ed Reed will be a “game-time decision” before the Monday night opener at San Diego.

Reed had his best practice today.

“He made a lot more improvement, and I wouldn’t rule him out,” Kubiak said. “He looks good. He’s come a long way.”

Reed hasn’t played in a game since Baltimore beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl. He’s recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. Shiloh Keo has been starting in Reed’s place.

The Texans have one more practice before they travel to San Diego on Sunday.

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Ed Reed has chance to play in Texans' opener

HOUSTON (AP) — Safety Ed Reed could play when the Texans open the season at San Diego on Monday night after returning to practice this week as he recovers from hip surgery.

"I don't want to say it can't happen because there's been such good progress," coach Gary Kubiak said. "So we'll see day to day."

Reed was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Saturday and returned on a limited basis. He has been recovering from April surgery to repair a partially torn labrum.

The nine-time Pro Bowler, signed in the offseason, will practice in pads for the first time on Friday. Kubiak said he'll know more about his status for the opener in the next couple of days.

"He's come a long way," Kubiak said. "There's some progress that would have to be made to get him ready to go on Monday, but boy, has he made a lot of progress."

Reed traveled to Vail, Colo., last month to visit the surgeon who performed the procedure on his hip. He received injections during the visit and went to Atlanta to continue his rehabilitation before rejoining the team. Kubiak was encouraged by the way Reed has moved around in Houston's three practices this week and is eager to see him work in pads.

If he plays on Monday, Kubiak noted that it will certainly be in a limited capacity since the 34-year-old did not see any work in a preseason game.

The Texans plan to start Shiloh Keo at free safety if Reed isn't ready to go against the Chargers. Keo was a fifth-round draft pick in 2011 who spent time on the practice squad that year before appearing in 14 games last season.

"Shiloh has a great command of what we do defensively so there's a lot of confidence in him at this point," Kubiak said, adding that he's much-improved. "I just think he's taken advantage of an opportunity."

Also Thursday, Kubiak announced T.J. Yates will be Matt Schaub's backup at quarterback. Yates, who has filled that role the last two seasons, fought off Case Keenum for the job. Kubiak said they were both so good in camp that he couldn't have made a wrong decision on the spot.

"I think T.J. answered the bell," Kubiak said. "He got pushed and T.J. played as good as he's played around here throughout the preseason."

He believes the pair will continue to compete throughout the season; something that he thinks will make the team better.

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Ed Reed unlikely for Houston Texans' opener

Houston Texans fans likely will have to wait at least one more week to see what Ed Reed looks like in their favorite team's uniform.

Reed is "highly unlikely" to play Week 1 when the Texans take on the San Diego Chargers on "Monday Night Football," CBS Sports reported Wednesday.

The veteran safety missed the Texans' entire offseason program while dealing with a hip injury after signing as a free agent in March.

Reed reportedly is progressing, but the Texans have proven throughout the process that they won't rush him onto the field.

The Super Bowl champion was signed from the Baltimore Ravens to add a winning pedigree to a team trying to get over the playoff hump, not for a Week 1 matchup.

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Ed Reed continues to impress Texans, moves closer toward playing vs. Chargers

Will veteran safety Ed Reed play during the Texans’ regular-season debut Monday at San Diego?

Neither the Texans nor Reed have made an official announcement. But Reed’s recently gone from being taken off the physically unable to perform list to practicing this week with the Texans, and his new teammates are already impressed with his initial contributions.

“I don’t know how he’s feeling but he’s looking good out there,” rookie defensive back A.J. Bouye said Tuesday. “I’m just watching him, just learning stuff from him and how he takes practice and how he plays. It’s good. It’s a different type of atmosphere when he’s out there … you see him competing and everything, especially on the back end.”

Coach Gary Kubiak didn’t address the media Tuesday and Reed wasn’t available for comment. But Kubiak’s often said Reed will make the final call as to whether he plays Monday and the recent sight of the veteran on the practice field has many Texans believing he’ll be on a real field against the Chargers.

“Only Ed knows that,” veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson said. “I know he was real close to feeling well, just from talking to him. Just seeing him on the field is a positive. If he wasn’t feeling well he wouldn’t be out there. He knows when he’ll be ready. Hopefully, it’ll be for Monday night.”

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Ed Reed named to defensive list

Two Texans made appearances in the top 50 for our NFL defensive player rankings, which resumed Monday: cornerback Johnathan Joseph at 43 and safety Ed Reed at 42.

Monday ESPN revealed players ranked between 41 and 50 on both offense and defense. Expect more Texans ahead, but so far Joseph, Reed and center Chris Myers have appeared on the lists.

Joseph enters this season feeling healthier than he did last season, during which he played through two sports hernias.

Reed, of course, is on the list for his play as a Baltimore Raven. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Reed has 16 interceptions since 2008 on passes of at least 15 yards -- the most in the league during that span.

The lists are the result of votes from 63 experts from ESPN TV, ESPN.com, ESPN radio, insider, Stats and Info and the city cites. AFC South blogger emeritus Paul Kuharsky was among the voters.

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Passing On Ed Reed Looking Like A Big Mistake For the New England Patriots

After the Baltimore Ravens‘ recent Super Bowl victory, it was inevitable that the team would lose a majority of their superstars to free agency.  On that list of casualties was future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed.   The New England Patriots knew that he would be available and Bill Belichick and Reed have always expressed admiration for one another. It seemed like the perfect fit for a team that had been searching for reliable safety play since losing Rodney Harrison to retirement. 

Then, free agency came along and the Patriots ultimately passed on Reed in favor of Adrian Wilson. Back when he was in his prime, Wilson was a phenomenal player.  He used his size, speed and hard-hitting ability to terrorize opposing pass catchers. He even was able to accumulate 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. 

He is one of only ten players to have accomplished this milestone, and he is probably a good candidate for Hall-of-Fame induction himself because of this. With all of that said, watching Wilson in practice and in preseason games, it has become clear that he has more than lost a step.  He looks slow and has lacked the playmaking ability that he has had throughout his career. Given that he is about to turn 34 in October, it is fair to ask whether he has played his last professional football game.  

Judging by how he looks and the fact that he played into the fourth quarter in the third preseason game, it is possible that he could be cut from the team in the coming days. As for Reed, he is arguably the best safety of all-time.  He has showed no signs of slowing down, putting up solid numbers consistently throughout his career. 

Even though Reed is roughly a month older than Wilson, he is still one of the best safeties in the league right now. The Patriots could have used him to anchor the defense while taking some of the young guys like Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon under his wing, teaching them the nuances of the game.

Tom Brady himself knows how dangerous Reed is in the secondary, as some of his worst games have resulted from Reed’s menacing playmaking ability.

The Patriots had the opportunity to play with him instead of against him.  Instead, they let him go to an AFC contender in the Houston Texans who the Patriots will probably have to face this year in the playoffs, assuming that both teams will make it. The Patriots will be left to wonder what might have been, passing on arguably the greatest safety of all-time.

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Ed Reed injury: Texans safety gets injections for ailing hip

Houston Texans safety Ed Reed received an injection in his hip in an effort to help his recovery process as he continues to work his way back from offseason surgery. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said the team will know more about Reed's status following the latest procedure, via Mark Berman of Fox 26.

Reed's status has been one of the biggest question marks for the Texans this offseason. The team and the 34-year old safety have said they were hopeful he would be able to return to the field in time for Week 1, but there hasn't been a timetable for his return.

Reed flew to Vail, Colo. to meet with the doctor who performed the procedure. Kubiak said the meeting was the last step before Reed could return to the field. The injections don't necessarily mean Reed won't be ready for the season opener, but for now he remains on the physically unable to perform list. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle said he does not expect Reed to be ready for Week 1.

With so much uncertainty, it's difficult to project when Reed may return to the field. He could still be active for the season opener, or he could remain on the PUP list to open the season and miss at least the first six games of the year. At this point, not even the Texans are sure when he'll play. If Reed is unable to play in Week 1, Shiloh Keo or rookie D.J. Swearinger will likely start in his place.

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Ed Reed to have final hip checkup

HOUSTON -- Texans safety Ed Reed will return to Vail, Colo., where he had arthroscopic hip surgery in April, for one final checkup with his surgeon before returning to Houston.

"That's going to be the last step, then he'll be back for good and he'll start working toward hopefully getting back on the field," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.

Kubiak said Sunday that Houston received good news about Reed's progress. Reed spent last week in Atlanta working with a rehabilitation specialist, with whom he has worked in the past.

Reed returned to Houston for Saturday's game then went back to Atlanta, where he has an offseason home.

He signed a three-year contract worth $15 million in March. Despite performing a lengthy physical during his visit, the Texans did not anticipate Reed would need surgery for a torn labrum in his hip when they signed him. But they did protect themselves to some extent.

Reed's contract has $1 million worth of being-active incentives this year, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. For each game he plays this season, Reed will collect $62,500, according to league sources. For each game Reed misses this season, he will lose out on a $62,500 bonus.

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Kubiak says Ed Reed is ahead of schedule

Coach Gary Kubiak says Ed Reed (hip surgery) is ahead of schedule in his rehab.
Reed was sent back to Atlanta to visit his rehab specialist for the second time in a week Monday. Kubiak says it's a "positive step" for Reed, and "all indications are things are going really, really good." Nobody knows when Reed plans to play in a game, but there's plenty of doubt that he'll be ready Week 1

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Ed Reed post-Super Bowl text to Andre Johnson: 'Get me to Houston'

After the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII in February over the 49ers, safety Ed Reed wasn't thinking about going to Disney World or Bourbon Street, he was thinking about going somewhere else: Houston.

How do we know that? Because Reed admitted it on Tuesday.

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson sent Reed a congratulatory text after the Ravens 34-31 win over San Francisco and well, let's let Reed tell the rest of the story.

"Andre just said congratulations," Reed said, via CSNHouston.com. "He said congratulations and it was more my comment to him."

What exactly was Reed's comment to Johnson?

"Get me to Houston," Reed said he responded.

For someone playing on a team that just won a Super Bowl, that's an interesting response.

Reed's comments would seem to insinuate he didn't want to be in Baltimore anymore, which is interesting because the feeling seemed to be mutual. Less than two weeks after Ed Reed signed with the Texans in March, a report surfaced claiming that Baltimore coach John Harbaugh didn't want Reed back. However, the Ravens would later deny that Harbaugh felt that way.

The bottom line here seems to be: Reed wanted to be in Houston and now he is. So does he think his new team can win the Super Bowl?

"The pieces are here but we still have a long way to go,” he said. “The Super Bowl is a long way from now and we still have a lot of work in training camp. This is only the first week. We still have a long way to go, still have a lot to learn."

Reed may have wanted out of Baltimore, but he'll still be going back soon. The Texans go on the road to play the Ravens in Week 3 of the regular season.

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Ed Reed making progress

The Texans received “good news” Saturday about safety Ed Reed and the veteran could be back on schedule to play against the Chargers.

“He’s ahead and has responded very well. … We’re just exhausting everything we can possibly do to get him ready to go and push toward the beginning of the season,” Kubiak said.

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Texans owner 'not concerned' about Ed Reed

Texans owner Bob McNair says he's "not concerned" about Ed Reed's (hip surgery) status for the regular season.

It doesn't appear McNair was talking specifically about Week 1, which Reed is still very much in question for. Reed estimated last week that he's "75-80 percent." He's not going to play in the preseason.

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Ed Reed working with rehab specialist away from Texans camp

Texans free safety Ed Reed wasn’t at practice today. Coach Gary Kubiak said Reed was given permission to work with his own rehabilitation specialist a couple of days this week and next week.

Reed remains on the physically unable to perform list while he recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. Usually, Reed works out on an adjacent field with the other players who are also recovering from injuries.

Kubiak said Reed is visiting with a rehab specialist he’s worked with while recovering from other injuries during his career. Reed is trying to return in time for the regular-season opener at San Diego.

Shiloh Keo, entering his third season, continues to start next to Danieal Manning. rookie D.J. Swearinger comes off the bench.

The truth is that nobody knows when Reed will return, including Reed. Whether it’s the first, second or third game remains to be seen. Until then, it’s business as usual, but it’s without one of the greatest free safeties in NFL history.

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Ed Reed on PUP

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans have placed running back Arian Foster and safety Ed Reed on the physically unable to perform list a day before their first practice of training camp.

Reed is recovering from surgery to repair a partly torn labrum on April 30. Foster strained his right calf early in organized team activities and didn't practice again, but the team said then that he should be ready for training camp.

Receiver DeVier Posey also was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He's recovering from an Achilles tendon injury suffered in Houston's playoff loss.

The Texans placed linebacker Darryl Sharpton on the non-football injury list and tight end Garrett Graham on the non-football illness list.

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Andre Johnson says Ed Reed will play in season opener

Receiver Andre Johnson said today he has spoken to Ed Reed, and the injured free safety told him he will be ready to start in the opening game at San Diego.

Reed has been recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. He suffered the injury in the AFC Championship Game victory at New England. He aggravated it during workouts with the Texans and had the surgery.

Johnson and Reed have been close friends since they were teammates at the University of Miami. Johnson helped the Texans recruit Reed in March.
Reed will be limited in camp as he continues to undergo rehabilitation. Coach Gary Kubiak will bring him along slowly and will make sure he’s 100 percent before he gets on the field.

While Reed recuperates, rookie D.J. Swearinger, the second-round pick, and veterans Shiloh Keo and Eddie Pleasant will get a lot more repetitions.

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Ed Reed’s status remains uncertain

Most of the big-name 2013 free agents are getting ready to suit up for their new teams.  Texans safety Ed Reed, who made the jump from the Ravens after winning his first career Super Bowl, may not be suiting up any time soon.

As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle puts it, “Nobody has a clue when Reed (hip) is going to be healthy and ready to play.”

Although the Texans have chosen silence and the perception of being duped over confirming that they were duped, the widespread suspicion in league circles is that they were duped.  Specifically, that Reed knew he’d need hip surgery but didn’t say anything a condition that apparently isn’t normally detected during a physical.

So the Texans will have to wait and hope that Reed will be able to eventually make a contribution, while simultaneously biting their tongues regarding any possible internal belief that Reed failed to be as candid as he could have been about his hip before signing a contract.

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Texans hope Ed Reed ready to lead

How much can the Houston Texans count on Ed Reed?

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety is supposed to be the missing piece to help lift the Texans over the proverbial hump. But Reed was literally a missing piece during offseason minicamp while he came off surgery to repair a slight tear of his hip labrum.

The Texans, who had identified a safety and a complementary receiver to Andre Johnson as their biggest offseason priorities, can only hope Reed is 100% recovered for the start of the 2013 season.

"We'll get him healthy, and he'll be fine," coach Gary Kubiak said.

Reed said that once training camp arrives, "I'll have a better bead on it, as far as my progress."

No one really knows if Reed, who will turn 35 on Sept. 11, will stay healthy.

There is a reason the Baltimore Ravens were willing to let him move on, after all.

Reed signed a three-year, $15million deal to replace free agent departure Glover Quin. Second-round draft pick D.J. Swearinger will get the bulk of offseason reps until Reed returns.

"We're right there as a team," Kubiak said.

Can Reed help get the Texans over the championship hurdle? Houston lost twice to the New England Patriots within a five-week span last season, including a divisional playoff elimination. The question is, do the Texans really stack up among the NFL's elite?

Sure, they finished 12-4 and won the AFC South for the second consecutive season. But they got no further than in 2011, when they won their first playoff game in franchise history only to be bounced by the Ravens.

Everything appears in place after another seemingly strong draft. So the 2013 Texans could go as far as Reed and quarterback Matt Schaub can take them. The return to health of defensive captain Brian Cushing and the addition of rookie No. 2 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins also could help get them where they hope to go.

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Ed Reed 94th on PFT's top 100 NFL players

The NFL Network did their list of the top 100 players in the NFL and the Texans were well represented.

They had five players on the list: J.J. Watt (fifth), Arian Foster (eighth), Andre Johnson (14th), Ed Reed (18th) and Duane Brown (48th).

That list is compiled by NFL players, who are asked to vote, although no one really knows who voted and if they took it seriously.

So, our friends at ProFootballTalk have compiled their own list and the way they compiled it makes sense. They assembled a group of media members from around the country who cover the NFL and asked them to list their top 50 players (the NFL Network asks players to list their top 20).

On Monday, the PFT list revealed its first 25 players and one Texan showed up.

At No. 94, the Texans' big free agent acquisition, Reed, made the list. That's quite a different standing for the future Hall of Famer, a 76-spot drop from lists.

It might have something to do with players voting for what Reed was instead of what he is. And Reed is still a very good safety in the NFL but his No. 18 ranking on the NFL Network's list was probably too high.

It's very possible the Texans had a better player (Glover Quin) last year than Reed will be this year. But Reed plays the position differently and the Texans obviously valued that style along with his experience and leadership.

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Tom Brady Reiterates ‘There Was Nothing Intentional’ About Slide That Ed Reed Claims Caused Hip Injury

FOXBORO, Mass. – Ed Reed put Tom Brady‘s name in the headlines on the day when Tim Tebow was plastered across all media platforms. The former Ravens safety claimed Brady’s slide in the AFC Championship game caused the hip injury that forced Reed to have surgery this offseason. Brady was asked about Reed’s claim during the quarterback’s media availability on Wednesday and said he had no reaction to the new Texan’s claim before being pushed.

“Yeah, there was nothing intentional about it,” Brady said. “It was unfortunate that it happened.”

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Ed Reed blames Brady kick for offseason surgery

Ed Reed has floored Tom Brady with some hard hits during the course of his career, but the superstar quarterback is the one who apparently caused the future Hall of Famer to undergo surgery.

Reed, the Texans' new safety, thinks that when Brady slid into him during last season's AFC Championship game, it was the reason that he had to repair a torn labrum in his hip in the offseason.

“Only play I can look at is when I got kicked by a certain quarterback, but even then I played in the Super Bowl and you saw what happened there,” Reed told the Houston Chronicle. “Even then I had two MCL sprains, a second degree one in the left in the Super Bowl in the first quarter and played through that. So if you’ve got any questions about my heart and how I play and how I work (that’s your answer).”

Reed, 34, had played his first 11 seasons with the Ravens before signing with Houston as a free agent in March, a deal for three years worth $15 million, with $5 million guaranteed.

He underwent surgery on his hip in April and his status for week 1 of the regular season is unknown. Reed missed the first six weeks of the 2010 season after undergoing hip surgery, but he said that surgery involved more significant reconstruction.

“I had surgery on April 30 and I was there for four weeks just like I had surgery last time I stayed about a month,” Reed said. “That’s the best thing to do as far as physical therapy. It’s going well right now. There’s really no timeline. I know what I want and I know what we want as an organization. We’re just going to keep on grinding and keep on working and shoot for September.”

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Ed Reed talked gray hair with the president

Texans safety Ed Reed celebrated the Ravens Super Bowl season by rejoining his old team for a White House visit. President Barack Obama made a crack about how old Reed looked.

Reed was on the NFL Network’s NFL AM this morning and they were kind enough to share a transcript that included this section regarding his time with the president.

On meeting President Barack Obama:
“You can’t beat meeting the president. You cannot beat that at all. Having him converse with me, that was priceless. Right when we got on the bus, I had to call my grandmother and let her know that I just left the president’s office.”

On him and the president spending a few minutes talking to each other:
“He was just talking about the gray hair we had and I was telling him how the job will do it to you. He was like ‘I understand.’ People were making it seem like he was cracking on me. I was like ‘That’s the president, he can say whatever he wanted.’ I am spending five minutes of time right now with him and he is talking about me, talking to me. That is a conversation. We are talking.”

On the president making a joke about his gray hair:
“It is [the president talking about my hair]. That is why I smiled. Any other person, I probably would have cracked back on but [President Obama?] That was a conversation. I can take that any day.”

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Ed Reed gets closure from White House visit

If former Ravens center Matt Birk had opted to join his former teammates at the White House, he may have gotten what former Ravens safety Ed Reed got from joining his former teammates at the White House.

“It was really awesome getting back and seeing my teammates,” Chris Farley Reed told NFL Network earlier today.  “It was like closure since I had not seen them since I had signed.  I know they had a lot of questions and they were answered yesterday.  That whole team, all those guys, they know me.  They know I always tell them to understand this business when they first come into the league as rookies.  I talked to just about all of them.  I talked to them about being professionals, having some professionalism about themselves, how to carry themselves.  So they understand the business.

“Granted, I didn’t think my career would end the way it may. But I was OK with it because Houston is home.  People there are very good.  I wouldn’t have went there if I didn’t feel that way.  Coach Kubiak is one of the coolest coaches I have ever met. [Defensive coordinator] Wade [Phillips] is so laid back, you can’t really do anything but enjoy him.  My position coach is really cool.  Going through this process of having to have surgery, I couldn’t have had any other organization behind me the way this organization is staying behind me.  They are understanding this process and understanding that I am doing everything possible — we are doing everything possible — to be at that first game.”

Whoa.  No one ever said Reed’s unexpected hip surgery, due to an injury he apparently didn’t disclose to his new team, could keep him out for the regular-season opener.  Based on what Reed has now said (he actually let the cat out of the bag for the first time on Wednesday), it apparently could.

It’s a good thing the Ravens are too dumb to realize they should have re-signed Reed.

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Ed Reed talks Texans after White House visit

After a Wednesday trip to the White House, Texans’ safety Ed Reedicon-article-link was in good spirits.

He and many of the 2012 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visited with President Barack Obama, and this morning on the NFL Network’s “NFL AM” show the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year shared about the highlights of the trip.

At the end of the nearly 6-minute interview, Reed talked about his new team in Houston and his ongoing recovery from a surgical procedure on his hip.

“In going through this process of having to have surgery, I couldn’t have any other organization behind me the way this organization is standing behind me and understanding this process,” Reed said. “Understanding that I’m doing everything possible, and will do everything possible to be at that first game.”

Reed has been rehabbing in Atlanta, and according to head coach Gary Kubiak, will join the team for minicamp on Tuesday.

“He’ll be here next week,” Kubiak said after yesterday's OTA. “He’ll be here basically for just an evaluation process. Obviously he can’t do anything. We know who’s working with him in Atlanta and then we’ll get him here next week.”

In addition to his praise for the Texans’ organization and its response to his surgery, Reed also spoke highly of his head coach, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and secondary coach Vance Joseph.

“Coach Kubiak is one of the coolest coaches I’ve ever met, and Wade is so laid back you can’t do anything but enjoy him,” Reed said. “And my position coach is really cool.”

Reed also described Houston as being “home”. He and the Texans will go through mandatory work at the Methodist Training Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before taking the last long break of the offseason. Training camp will begin in late July.

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PHOTOS: proCanes Ed Reed & Ray Lewis Visit White House


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Ed Reed doesn’t close the door on missing games

Texans safety Ed Reed was at the White House with his former team today, being honored by the President for the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory.

Afterward,  Reed spoke with reporters and was asked about the Texans’ Week 3 matchup against the Ravens.

“I plan on being back for Week 1,” Reed said after visiting the White House, according to Ravens.com. “But as you’ve known me for the longest time, I’m going to be smart about my injuries and make sure I’m there for the later part of the season when the team really needs me.”

Reed, 34, had arthroscopic hip surgery at the end of April. That kind of surgery typically takes about three months of recovery, and the Texans are expecting to have Reed practicing again at some point in training camp. That was how coach Gary Kubiak termed it recently after an OTA session.

Reed’s quote doesn’t indicate that he won’t be be available for the start of the season, but it doesn’t close the door on that, either.

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Ed Reed and Ray Lewis scheduled to attend White House ceremony

The 2012-13 Ravens will be well represented Wednesday when the team travels to the White House to be honored by President Barack Obama for its 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.

Linebacker Ray Lewis, who retired following his 17th season in Baltimore, and safety Ed Reed, who signed a free-agent deal with the Houston Texans in March after playing 11 seasons for the Ravens, are both expected to attend the festivities, which include a private ring ceremony on Friday at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.

Reed had hip surgery in April and hasn't been able to participate in workouts with his new team. 

Reserve linebacker and special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was released this offseason, also is scheduled to attend along with the majority of the current Ravens who were on last year's Super Bowl roster.

The Ravens have their third and final session of organized team activities this week so a good part of the team is already in town.

However, there will be some noticeable absences, a list headed by wide receiver Anquan Boldin who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in March. Boldin will stay in California to participate in OTAs with his new team, confirmed a Ravens' official.

"Unfortunately I'm going to miss a great opportunity to be with my Super Bowl team at the White House," Boldin said on his Twitter account. "I know those guys will proudly share our Super Bowl memories and unforgettable moments on my behalf."

Safety Bernard Pollard, now on the Tennessee Titans after being released by the Ravens, and linebacker Paul Kruger, who signed with the Cleveland Browns early in free agency, also won't be in attendance at the White House. Kruger, the Ravens' sack leader last year, is expected to attend Friday's ring ceremony.

Reserve safety Sean Considine, now a free agent, has a family obligation that will keep him from attending.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eagles quarterback Dennis Dixon, who was on the Ravens' practice squad for much of last season, and cornerback Cary Williams will also not attend the White House event. The Eagles have a minicamp this week and Williams, who started every game last year for the Ravens, has already gotten some criticism for missing some of the team's voluntary workouts under new coach Chip Kelly. 

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Ed Reed will rehab at Houston Texans minicamp

Houston Texans safety Ed Reed, who has missed organized team workouts after undergoing hip surgery in late April, is rehabbing in Atlanta.

"I had a long conversation with Ed yesterday," coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday, via HoustonTexans.com. "I think he actually got back to Atlanta on Saturday. We have him in a rehab program there in Atlanta."

Reed's injury came as a surprise to the Texans after they signed him away from the Baltimore Ravens.

Kubiak said Reed will spend time with his former team next week for a private ring ceremony on June 7 and a visit to the White House to commemorate the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win.

"That's pretty important for him to get that stuff done there, but he will be back here as we approach the mandatory minicamp and be here for the rehab process," Kubiak said. The team's three-day minicamp starts June 11.

"So you guys should see him in about a week."

The Texans also hope to have Reed on the field by the beginning or middle of training camp, which begins July 26, according to the Texans' website.

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Ed Reed will be present for Texans’ minicamp

Coach Gary Kubiak says new free safety Ed Reed, who’s coming off hip surgery, will at least be on the sideline for Texans’ minicamp June 11-13. Reed had a torn labrum that was bothering him and, after the arthroscopic procedure, he stayed in Colorado where it was done to begin his rehab work.

The 11-year veteran Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowler who was signed away from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens during free agency, won’t be making an appearance during the Texans’ voluntary OTAs, which conclude next week.

“I had a long conversation with Ed yesterday,” Kubiak said. “I think he actually got back to Atlanta on Saturday. We have him in a rehab program there. Next week, I think, is (Baltimore’s) Super Bowl ring ceremony and (the team is) going to the White House, so that’s pretty important for him. But he will be back here for the rehab process as we approach the mandatory minicamp, so you guys (in the media) should see him in about a week.”

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Ed Reed rehabbing in Colorado as OTAs begin

The Texans had nearly full attendance at today’s voluntary practice for the start of organized team activities (OTAs).

Duane Brown and Brooks Reed looked svelte. Whitney Mercilus’s arms looked gigantic. Greg Jones looked just as ripped as he did in Jacksonville, which led no fewer than three people to muse about how impressive his shape is in person.

Though defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton wasn’t cleared two weeks ago, Sharpton was cleared in time for today’s practice, in which he participated fully.

One guy expectedly not present was safety Ed Reed, who is in Colorado rehabbing from arthroscopic hip surgery to repair a torn labrum.

“He’s doing really well,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “The expectations are for him to leave Colorado at some point this week from a rehab standpoint. It’s going good.”

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Ravens suspected Reed had hip problem, Texans apparently didn’t

There’s an intriguing post-script when it comes to the recent news that Texans safety Ed Reed needs hip surgery that could cause him to miss part of training camp.

We’re told that the Ravens, while not specifically aware of the extent of the problem, generally knew that Reed’s hip was bothering him.  The Texans apparently didn’t.

That said, the Baltimore injury reports reflect only a shoulder problem in 2012.  And the shoulder injury began to appear on the injury reports only after Reed blabbed about having a shoulder injury, which got the team fined for hiding it.  (And which prompted a fairly epic rant from the head coach.)

During my weekly visit with Nick Wright and John Lopez of SportsRadio 610 in Houston, the hosts played some sound from a doctor who was on the show Thursday.  Specifically, Dr. Kenneth First explained that Reed’s torn labrum wouldn’t have been detected via a physical or an X-ray.

This means that the Texans either didn’t ask Reed if his hip (or any joint) was bothering him, or the Texans asked and Reed didn’t disclose it.

“You’d have to tell me that he suddenly hurt himself playing badminton or volleyball in April,” First said.  (Or, perhaps, climbing out of a tank in February.)  “Most of the time you know you have a hip problem.  I just think that he probably knew he had a hip problem.  I wouldn’t be shocked if the Ravens knew he had a hip problem as he went through the season last year. . . .  You don’t tear your labrum just walking around.  You know there’s something wrong.”

Dr. First also explained that the surgery isn’t minor (contrary to the characterization from owner Bob McNair), and Dr. First believes that if this were happening with a key player on a big-market team, it would be a lot bigger deal.

Regardless of the market, it’s amazing that more hasn’t been said about Reed’s ability to sign a multi-year deal with the Texans despite a not-insignificant condition about which his new team didn’t know.  And if the Texans believe or suspect that Reed wasn’t completely candid about the situation, that could make for an awkward start to his tenure with the team.

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Ed Reed, Darryl Sharpton still recovering from hip injury

Texans linebacker Brooks Reed had an offseason operation to address an injury suffered during the season, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said during a radio appearance on 610 AM on Thursday.

Phillips did not indicate the surgery would be a problem for Reed heading into the Texans’ organized team activities, which begin May 20.
He addressed Reed when asked about his level of concern over safety Ed Reed, who had arthroscopic hip surgery recently.

“I’m concerned like I am with anybody that’s coming off an injury, is coming off an operation,” Phillips said. “I believe in our people and they say, hey, he’s going to be fine, (Brian) Cushing’s going to be fine. Even Brooks Reed had an injury last year and was operated (on) in the offseason. You’re always concerned about it. I don’t want to blow it up to say I don’t think they will be back because I think they will.”

Brooks Reed missed four games late last season with a torn groin.

Phillips said inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton was still recovering from the hip injury that landed him on injured reserve in January.

“Darryl’s not healthy enough right now to do our offseason stuff,” Phillips said. “He’s still not been cleared by the doctors from his injury at the end of the season.”

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Ed Reed expected back middle of training camp at latest

When Texans safety Ed Reed had surgery to repair a small labral tear in his hip recently, word was that he was expected to be recovered in time for the start of training camp.

Texans owner Bob McNair revealed a little more doubt than initially reported when he addressed Reed’s status on Monday. Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle reports that McNair called Reed’s surgery a “minor procedure” while also admitting that that the safety may not be ready to get back on the field until a couple of weeks into training camp.

He wasn’t the only member of the Texans talking about Reed’s recovery from the surgery. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that he’s got some worry about Reed’s status because he waited to have the surgery instead of having it right after last season came to a close.

“If it had been right after the season it’d have been different,” Phillips said. “There’s a little concern but the good thing about him is he’s experienced it before, he’s an experienced guy. You have no problem with him studying or knowing what you’re doing. He’s gonna spend all the time it takes off the field to get ready. I think Ed will be ready when it’s time.”

There was always going to be a little concern about the health of a safety who turns 35 in September. You never want a player to need surgery, obviously, but pushing Reed early in camp was never going to be part of the program in Houston. Absent any negative reports about Reed’s recovery, a little concern will likely remain just that.

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Ed Reed undergoes second hip procedure

Perhaps John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens had inside information regarding the true status of Ed Reed and his health status when they let their superstar safety walk in free agency.

It is being reported by the Houston Chronicle that the Houston Texans’ new safety has undergone arthroscopic hip surgery to repair a small labral tear in his hip.

Three years ago, Reed underwent a similar hip surgery that forced him to miss the first seven weeks of the season with the Ravens.

The good news for Houston fans is that the surgery is thought to be minor enough for Reed to return to training camp on schedule. Though it is worrisome that less than two months after signing with the team, the 34 year-old Reed is getting additional work on his hip. Even more bothersome is the history Reed has with injuries and recovery times.

Luckily, the Texans had a backup plan should Reed’s health deteriorate as it has. Second-round prospect D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina had a very successful college career and could be seeing extensive reps with the team this off-season and on the field in case Reed can’t go.

Even if Reed does play this season, his on-field production has dwindled year-by-year, forcing Danielle Manning and Swearinger to step up in the future Hall-of-Famer’s absence. It would be a shame to remember Ed Reed’s last season as a failure, especially for a player who leads the NFL in career interception yards and has been one of the most dominant safety’s in NFL history. Unfortunately, unless Reed’s health holds up, that may be his fate.

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Alabama chasing draft record Andre Johnson and Ed Reed helped set - Falls Short

The talent the Miami Hurricanes produced in their glory days is still unsurpassed.

This year, Alabama could inch closer to those teams.

Miami is the only college football program that has ever had at least four first-round draft picks in four consecutive years. Alabama has had four first-round picks the past two seasons. If they do it again this year, they’ll join the Canes as the only two college football programs ever to have at least four first-rounders in three straight years.

Alabama had defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, receiver Julio Jones, offensive tackle James Carpenter and running back Mark Ingram in 2011, then running back Trent Richardson, defensive back Mark Barron, defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Dont’a Hightower in 2012.

Miami did it from 2001 through 2004. Texans safety Ed Reed was part of that streak as the 24th overall selection in 2002 as was Andre Johnson, whom the Texans took third overall in 2003.

There’s a decent chance of this happening. Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, guard Chance Warmack and offensie tackle D.J. Fluker are expected to be first-round picks. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy is the best running back in the draft, and in the past half century at least one running back has gone in every first round, though there’s always the chance that streak breaks.

UPDATED: Alabama only had THREE first round draft picks last night.

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Ravens PR boss “pissed” at report team didn’t want Reed

Ed Reed’s a Texan now, largely because they offered to pay him more than the Ravens were willing to.

But his departure is still the subject of much discussion in Baltimore, and it’s getting a little testy.

We noted earlier in the week that columnist Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun said Ravens coach John Harbaugh “wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal.”

Now, the Ravens PR chief, while admitting you can’t win a war with someone who buys ink buy the barrel, has waded headlong into one.

In an article on the Ravens official website, senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne admits that he’s “pissed,” about the characterization that Harbaugh didn’t want the veteran safety back. His main point is that Preston characterized an opinion of his own as a fact stemming from the organization, a suggestion Byrne clearly disagrees with.

“You know what, Ed Reed deserves better,” Byrne wrote. “So does John Harbaugh. The line was inconsiderate, offensive and not the truth.

“I know this, if Harbs had read a line from the Houston Post that said: ‘Reed wanted to play for John Harbaugh as much as he wants a root canal,’ John would be hurt – and surprised. He would likely assume that Ed said that to some reporter. He would question if his friendship with Ed was a sham and that maybe he had been conned by the safety.”

Byrne’s reputation in the business is of being fair and even-handed, so the tone of his response is as surprising as the content.

And for a guy who counsels players and coaches not to get into firefights with reporters, he just napalmed the local columnist, which should make for an interesting relationship going forward with someone he has to work with regularly.

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Ravens Didn't Want Ed Reed Back? Not Interested in Bryant McKinnie?

The Baltimore Ravens never wanted to keep Ed Reed. That was obvious from the outside when we saw the contract proposals which were offered to the veteran safety. Now someone closer to the situation writes that the Ravens only "made it appear" they were bidding to keep him.

"Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal," Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun wrote in a column published Monday.

The Ravens didn't completely back out of the mix for Reed out of respect, but their offers showed that they truly didn't value him. The Houston Texans were willing to pay more money, and they got him easily.

Reed, of course, wasn't the Ravens' only veteran to leave this offseason. Preston notes that offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie remains a free agent, but it appears his chances of returning to the Ravens are slim. There doesn't look to be a lot of interest from the Ravens in bringing back McKinnie.

It's been an offseason of change in Baltimore, but most of the players the Ravens lost either were part-time starters like Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe or veterans that the Ravens simply didn't want to keep, like Reed and McKinnie.

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Report: John Harbaugh wanted Ed Reed gone

When safety Ed Reed left the Ravens to sign with the Texans, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh talked about how much he appreciated what Reed had done for the team. But Harbaugh may have been quietly thinking, “Good riddance.”

According to a new report out of Baltimore, the talk that the Ravens and Texans were in a bidding war for Reed was wrong, and in reality the Ravens were happy to see Reed go. Specifically, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun writes, “Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal.”

At the time that Reed left, Harbaugh said, “Ed has had a major impact on our organization and our community. He is a great player and a great friend. We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together.” Harbaugh did not, however, specifically say that he wanted Reed to stay.

If Preston’s report is correct, and Harbaugh did want Reed out, it may have stemmed from the near “mutiny” that was reported by Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports during the 2012 season. Reed and Bernard Pollard reportedly led the mutiny, complaining about Harbaugh’s practices and his general treatment of players.

That mutiny may have been a factor in Pollard’s release, although Pollard takes issue with that idea.

Harbaugh will surely never say publicly that he wanted Reed gone. But he probably isn’t losing any sleep about losing a player who complained about the way the coach ran practice.

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Ed Reed: Leaving Ravens hardest thing to go

Ed Reed officially became a Houston Texan on Friday. An era in Baltimore has ended. After the wax on the contract seal dried, Reed joined Glenn Younes.

“This is the hardest thing I went through in my life,” the future Hall of Famer told Glenn. “I wanted to be Black and Purple, but I’m 34 now and the league knows that.”

Reed spent eleven seasons in Baltimore, and set a precedent for future players at his position posting 61 interceptions in Purple. He also holds the record for most INT return yards in history with 1,541.

“I listened to the people badmouthing me on your show,” Reed continued. “I gave Baltimore everything I had. I support Baltimore like New Orleans.”

The All-Pro safety will continue to support Baltimore. His Foundation has several events still scheduled in Charm City. “The Eye of the Hurricane” focuses on helping youth realize their full potential, even those of lesser means.

“I’m trying to be like Joe,” Reed said. “Not Joe Flacco. Joe Blow. I want to do what I can to help the community.”

After the interview, there were an overwhelming number of texts and calls in support of Ed Reed. Baltimore will miss him, and Reed will miss Baltimore.

“Did I want it? No. Do I understand it? Yes,” Reed concluded. “It’s a business, but the way it ended in Baltimore? You cannot write a better book.”

The epilogue of that book will be written in Houston, but number 20 will be forever remembered as a Raven. He leaves Baltimore with no hard feelings, and nothing but love. Good luck as a Texan, and retirelb_icon1 a Raven.

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Ed Reed didn’t fully understand the business of the NFL until now

After leaving the Ravens and signing with the Texans, Ed Reed said this offseason has been a wakeup call for him in learning about the business of the NFL.

Reed said on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore that he believed after the Super Bowl that the Ravens would be able to keep the nucleus of their championship team together. It was disappointing for Reed to come to the realization that the Ravens were undergoing a major roster shakeup.

“I didn’t expect this. Did I want it? No, I didn’t want it. But do I understand it? Yes I understand it,” Reed said, via Sports Radio Interviews. “My heart really felt that we had an opportunity to do some special things because we had a core of people. I honestly didn’t know the true nitty-gritty of the business side of it. I didn’t know all the possibilities that would happen and transpired the last few weeks or so. I didn’t know all that would happen the way it did. That put things in perspective as well to let you know the team is kind of going in a different direction. Not rebuilding but in a sense rebuilding, to make different moves and it just wasn’t economically the best situation for me.”

Reed has handled his departure after 11 years in Baltimore with class, but this is a disappointing time for him. Every star player eventually comes to the realization that as he gets older he gets easier to replace, and for Reed, that realization came when the Ravens let him walk.

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Breaking down Ed Reed's $15 million Texans deal

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed's three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans includes a $2 million signing bonus, according to a league source with knowledge of the deal.

The deal includes $6 million in guaranteed money.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year's $1 million base salary in 2013 is fully guaranteed for skill, injury and cap.

Reed also got a $1 million roster bonus this year. There's a $2 million guaranteed base salary advance in the first year of the deal.

In 2013, he has a $3.333 million salary-cap figure.

In 2014, he has a $4 million nonguaranteed base salary and a salary-cap figure of $5.33 million.

In 2015, he has a $5 million nonguaranteed base salary and a salary-cap figure of $6.33 million.

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PHOTO: Ed Reed & His New Texans Jersey


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PHOTO: Ed Reed Signs Contract With Texans


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PHOTO: Ed Reed thanks Ravens fans with a full-page ad

Days after signing with the Texans, former Ravens safety Ed Reed said goodbye to Baltimore, by taking a full-page ad out in the Baltimore Sun.

It was a better investment than Ryan Kalil’s last foray into purchasing newsprint real estate.

Under the headline “Thank you, Baltimore,” Reed expressed his gratitude to the city, after the team just let him walk away.

“Ravens Nation, My eleven seasons in Baltimore were more than I would have ever imagined, which is why I have such deep love for you all,” the ad read. “I will forever cherish my time with the Ravens and the chills that ran down my spine when I finally kissed the Lombardi Trophy.

“Special thanks to the City, Team, Organization and all the Fans! I’m going to miss being a part of this tremendous team and organization, but I’ll always be Baltimore and my Foundation will remain in this community, this is not a goodbye, but a See You Soon.

“Thank you for everything Baltimore, God Bless you.

“ED REED #20”

Reed gets to walk away a hero in Baltimore, which may be better for his legacy than if he had stayed and played. He’s turning 35 in September, and might not look like the player Baltimore fans have grown to love for long.

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Ed Reed Joins Texans, Looks Back On Ravens

Ed Reed wore a Texans hat and jeans. He held up a No. 20 Texans jersey and posed for pictures.

The longtime Baltimore Raven and future Hall of Famer officially signed his new contract, and was introduced to the media Friday afternoon.

“Glad to be here. This is awesome,” Reed said at the start.

He said Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith called him on the first day of free agency, and that it was “just a matter of time before getting it done.” Reed thanked the Texans for rolling out the red carpet for him on his visit last week, which included being picked up by a private jet.

“Anybody who is a football fan and knows me knows this is the right place to me, knows that this is the perfect situation,” Reed said.

“I still love football, know I can play football. It was just a matter of being somewhere that fits – for me and the team.”

The Ravens reportedly did not offer Reed as much money as the Texans, who inked Reed to a three-year, $15 million deal with $5 million guaranteed.

Still, Reed said the decision to leave Baltimore weighed on him and he prayed about it, including with Senior Advisor of Player Development O.J. Brigance, who he called a “brother.”

“It is hard, but football is a small chapter of our lives,” Reed said. “Eleven years is a great book. The way it ended, you can’t write a better script. Eventually, we knew Baltimore had to make decisions and they made those decisions.

“That’s 11 years that are just storybook. I’m proud to say that the last game was a Super Bowl in Baltimore. That will never be taken back. I’ll always be in that community and always be forever grateful to the fans, to my city, to my neighborhood, to my neighbors.”

Reed was asked whether General Manager Ozzie Newsome would be the hardest person to leave. Reed said no, explaining it was everybody.

“Football is what we do, it’s our job, it’s a business. But the relationships I have with people in Baltimore will never change,” said Reed, who emailed Newsome, Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh Friday morning.

“They’ve taught me well from a player’s perspective, from a business perspective and just as a man. When I was in Baltimore it was all about raising men, not just having players come in and out of there. There was a reason why it built up to the success. For everybody that wore purple and black, it was tough.”

Reed joins a Texans defense that already touts a strong front seven led by reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. He’ll be in the secondary with Pro Bowl cornerback Jonathan Joseph.

Texans Owner Bob McNair said Reed was a target for the Texans because they wanted to add veteran leadership to help them in the playoffs, where they’ve lost two years in a row in the divisional round.

Houston also lacked a playmaking center fielder, and McNair said the expectation is that Reed will help them compete against the likes of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“From my perspective, it was quite clear that Baltimore was able to play the Patriots and they were very effective,” McNair said. “I think their center fielder had a lot to do with that.”

Reed will travel back to Baltimore to face the Ravens during the 2013 regular season in what will be a highly-publicized reunion. He was visibly amped to join one of the league’s top defenses, and has already asked for his playbook.

“We have a squad man,” Reed said of the Texans. “This is going to be an exciting year.”

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It's a sad day for Ravens, fans as Ed Reed signs with Houston Texans

How are reporters and editors view Ed Reed signing with the Houston Texans:

Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: It is obviously a sad day for Ravens' fans and for good reason. Reed is one of the best players in franchise history and a sure bet Hall of Famer. For more than a decade, he has not only been one of the best Ravens but he's been one of the most entertaining to watch. But the Ravens' offseason blueprint has been clear and quite  frankly, Reed, who turns 35 in September and who struggled last season, doesn't fit into that going forward. Now more than ever, this is a new era for the Ravens. I think they'll miss Reed's leadership and his mentoring of players more than his on-field production. There is a part of me that wished that Reed retired this offseason, that the final images of him on a football field would have been the safety dancing around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 30 minutes from where he grew up, and celebrating his first Super Bowl victory. But with how much he has meant to the NFL, the Ravens and the city, he deserves to go out however he wants.

Aaron Wilson, Ravens reporter: Ed Reed leaves the Ravens with a rich legacy as one of the most instinctive ballhawking safeties in NFL history. A dynamic center fielder, Reed had a unique way of baiting quarterbacks into mistakes. The 34-year-old joins the Houston Texans at a time when his game was still productive with flashes of the old vintage Reed. However, he was also hampered at times by durability issues and a decline in range that's understandable at his age. Reed's intellect and dedication to film study set him apart and his willingness to mentor younger teammates the way Ray Lewis did with him when he first arrived in Baltimore. Reed was unpredictable on the field and rarely hesitated to express himself off the field. There won't be another player or personality quite like Reed in Baltimore. Bottom line: Reed was never dull to watch or listen to.

Matt Vensel, reporter/blogger: While nothing was surprising at all about the news that Ed Reed is signing with the Houston Texans, I still feel a little bummed out about it now that it became official. It has been a joy watching Reed up close since I started covering the team in 2008, and it may be a long, long time until we see another ball-hawking safety as good as him. Few defenders were as dangerous and as exciting with the ball in their hands. I will miss those big plays.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: I always wanted to see Ed Reed with the ball in his hands, whether it was an interception return or a punt return, just to see if he was going to lateral the ball. Reed has noticeably slowed down as a player, but he’ll be a big loss in the locker room for the Ravens. He’s a tremendous athlete who will be remembered in Baltimore not only for his Hall of Fame career, but for his charity work, especially at the Booker T. Washington Middle School. He didn’t just provide money, he gave his time.

Kevin Cowherd, columnist: If it was hard to imagine the Ravens' defense without Ray Lewis, it's almost impossible to imagine it without No. 52 AND Ed Reed. Reed will be sorely missed for his savvy and play-making abilities. But he wanted more money than the Ravens were willing to pay and the respect of a big contract, and now the Ravens begin to build a whole new identity on defense.

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Loss of Reed means end of era for Ravens

In losing seven starters from their Super Bowl championship team, the Baltimore Ravens know they can fill the spots left by the likes of inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, safety Bernard Pollard, cornerback Cary Williams and center Matt Birk.

But there is no replacing safety Ed Reed or linebacker Ray Lewis. Baltimore will get someone like Michael Huff to start at Reed's free safety position and the team will find another inside linebacker to take over for Lewis. It's just impossible for the Ravens to replace what these two future Hall of Fame players meant to the franchise.

When Reed agreed to terms with the Houston Texans on Wednesday night, the Ravens didn't just say goodbye to another key piece to a championship team. With Reed gone and Lewis retired, this marked the end of an era for the Ravens. This move defines a Ravens offseason where the focus has been on the future and not the sentiment of the past.

Reed and Lewis were cornerstones of the franchise. They were the emotional leaders. They provided the confidence and the swagger. They got into the heads of quarterbacks and running backs alike and provided game-changing plays when the Ravens needed it the most. For most of the past decade, teams knew they couldn't run on No. 52 in the middle and couldn't throw deep against No. 20 patrolling the secondary. It's hard to imagine the Ravens without either Reed or Lewis, much less both.

There was always a comfort level knowing the best linebacker and the best safety of the generation was suiting up. The Ravens defense has had Reed or Lewis on the field for the past seven seasons. Over the past 11 years, the Ravens played just five games without both of them, and went 1-4 in their absence.

The Ravens knew there was a chance Reed could sign elsewhere. The team treated Reed's free-agency situation the same way it did with Lewis three years ago. Reed was allowed to test the market to see if he could find a better deal. Unlike Lewis, Reed didn't come back.

The Ravens will miss Reed's leadership more than his play on the field, which is ultimately why they didn't outbid the Texans. This isn't to say Reed failed to make an impact, because he did affect games. His presence changed the way offenses attacked Baltimore. In the playoffs, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning avoided throwing to Reed's side of the field. Reed added an interception in the Super Bowl.

But Reed, who will turn 35 in the first month of the season, isn't the same playmaker from a few years ago. That's why teams weren't lining up and opening up their checkbooks for him. He is a liability when it comes to tackling. He missed 15 tackles last season, and that doesn't include the two times that a player leapt over him. Reed also has had four or fewer interceptions in three of his past four seasons.

What hurts the Ravens the most is losing Reed's locker-room presence. While everyone saw Lewis motivating teammates in a pregame huddle every week, many players felt Reed was the more influential leader. He preferred to speak to players behind the scenes.

It's amazing to think that Reed came close to never playing for Baltimore. In fact, the Ravens didn't target Reed in the 2002 draft. Team officials were hoping linebacker Napoleon Harris would fall to them. The Raiders took Harris (who ended up playing for four teams in seven seasons) one spot ahead of the Ravens. Even after that, owner Steve Bisciotti thought the Ravens should taken cornerback Lito Sheppard over Reed.

In the end, the Ravens chose Reed with the 24th pick of that draft and the rest is team history. Reed will be remembered for making plays all over the field by taking risks, whether it was jumping a route or haphazardly lateraling the ball. He's picked off 61 passes, the most interceptions in the NFL since 2002 and 11 more than anyone else during that span. He is the NFL's all-time leader in interception-return yards, recording the two longest interception returns in NFL history (107 and 106 yards). Reed has scored 14 touchdowns in his career (including playoffs), reaching the end zone off interceptions (eight), blocked punts (three), fumble returns (two) and a punt return (one).

The Baltimore defense isn't in total shambles. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Lardarius Webb become the new foundation. The aura isn't the same, however, because none of these players carries the same legacy of Reed or Lewis.

This is new territory for the Ravens. The top players in franchise history, Lewis and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, were Ravens for life. It won't be the same storybook ending for Reed, and maybe that's the way it should be. Lewis and Reed leaving the Ravens at the same time.

The Ravens' 2013 season isn't simply about defending their Super Bowl title anymore. It's the start of a new chapter for the franchise and its defense.

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Bidding farewell to Ed Reed, the most interesting, entertaining athlete in Baltimore

Sportswriters inevitably get the question: How do you cover teams you once loved as a fan?

The standard answer is that you stop rooting for the jersey and start rooting for the best story. That’s true to a point but incomplete. It’s near impossible to cover a team and not become fascinated with some of the individual personalities. You don’t exactly root for them, but you are drawn to them.

And that brings me to Ed Reed and his departure from Baltimore after 11 mesmerizing, mystical, confounding and deeply entertaining seasons.

Reed is the most captivating athlete who has passed through the city during my time as a writer. And for that reason, I’m unashamed to say I’ll miss him. 

The first time I had the pleasure of writing about him, during the 2009 playoffs, he had puzzled everyone by idly remarking that he might try baseball. He had manned third base and closed games for Destrehan High School, just outside New Orleans. And with the daily realities of NFL pain management tugging at his mind, he spoke whimsically of a career change.

Mind you, he was in the middle of perhaps his most spectacular stretch, having intercepted 10 passes and scored three defensive touchdowns in the previous seven games. In the previous weekend’s playoff game in Miami, he had raced past everyone to intercept an overthrown pass and had then reversed his momentum and cut through the entire Dolphins’ defense on his way to the end zone.

The play was pure Reed, like Willie Mays playing football. He zoomed out of nowhere to make a play that defied the normal rhythms of an NFL game. And instead of stopping at one remarkable feat, he kept pushing, determined to paint a masterpiece.

Moments like that allowed us to forgive Reed his kooky laterals. The man wasn’t content with being ordinary.

Anyway, what struck me during that 2009 reporting experience was not anything Reed had to say. He was in one of his frequent man-of-few-words phases.
No, what came through was the reverence teammates shared for his acumen. Fellow safety Jim Leonhard told me that every week, Reed did something that made him say, “I’ve never seen that.”

Domonique Foxworth, as smart an athlete as you’ll ever meet, couldn’t believe how much Reed gleaned from a few hours of watching film. Years later, Foxworth would tell me he had never seen Reed’s equal in outguessing the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Safeties tend to be relative afterthoughts in NFL game planning. But not Reed. He weaponized the position. You could hear it in appraisals from the NFL’s brightest minds — Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning. Reed was the guy they feared in preparing for the Ravens.

Sure, Reed occasionally exhausted the patience of fans and team officials with pronouncements that seemed just as offbeat as his movements on the field. He talked often of retiring in recent offseasons as shoulder and neck injuries gradually diminished his playing abandon. There was the famous scene after the Ravens lost the 2012 AFC Championship Game. Instead of fielding questions about his future, Reed serenaded the locker room with a bit of Teddy Pendergrass.

But come training camp last summer, there he was, sporting his familiar samurai beard with the tinge of gray. And there I was, back to write about him and Ray Lewis as they prepared for one more ride. This time, I found an expansive Reed as we stood in a hallway near the team cafeteria and talked for 30 minutes.

Most veteran pros have mastered the art of blandness, but Reed, if you catch him on the right day, is an interesting listen. He speaks in elliptical passages that wander away from the question only to wind back to the essential issue.

He couldn’t help but wrestle with his football mortality, he told me, and yet after a summer of soul-searching, he felt he had more to give — to his younger teammates and to the game itself.

Again, I was struck as much by what others said as by Reed’s own words. The outside world regarded Lewis as the Ravens’ leader, one of the most dynamic front men in all of sports. But when I discussed mentoring with younger Ravens such as Jameel McClain and Lardarius Webb, they couldn’t stop talking about Reed. They saw him as far more than some football Zen master. They could talk to him about life — family relationships and the art of keeping football in its proper context.

The team needed his wisdom as injuries and ugly losses cast doubt on the fate of the season. Lewis again became the story as the playoffs opened, announcing his impending retirement days before the Ravens began a stretch of unexpected inspiration.

But just as fervently as his longtime teammate, Reed saw a perfect ending on the horizon, a Super Bowl to be contested in New Orleans, 20 miles from his hometown of Saint Rose, La. When the Ravens arrived, Reed embraced the spotlight like never before, beaming as he answered dozens upon dozens of questions about coming home.

On my favorite afternoon of that week, I spent a few hours at Destrehan High, speaking with Reed’s mother, Karen, and the teachers and coaches who mentored him. Karen Reed was shy of questions but proudly showed off her hand-sewn purple Ravens boots and purple nail polish. The coaches remembered the way Reed listened to gospel on long bus trips and his folk-heroic mastery of anything athletic, from kicking a football to throwing the javelin to hitting home runs. His second mother figure, Jeanne Hall, described the way his charm and depth showed through even before he had his life together. She was convinced he’d become a comedian or a preacher.

Everyone at Destrehan still called him Edward. And Reed’s boyish exultation proved to be one of the genuine pleasures of the Ravens’ victory.

When he spoke of leading a “second line” through the downtown streets to the team hotel, it wasn’t hard to picture him actually doing it. During the victory parade, it seemed he might disappear into a crowd of Baltimoreans, the Lombardi trophy tucked under his arm like an intercepted pass. In the weeks that followed, we even saw him as a red carpet reporter at the Oscars, chatting up George Clooney.

Business interceded as it usually does in pro football. The Ravens held to their discipline, refusing to overpay Reed now that he’s no longer a core asset. And he did the sensible thing, squeezing the last, best payoff from a sport that grinds down the bodies of its greatest practitioners. No need for bitterness on either side.

And yet, a touch of sadness seems in order. One of our indelible characters is gone and his like shall not pass this way again.

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Ed Reed heading to Houston Texans

Baltimore Ravens fans may be still reveling in the Super Bowl win, but some of the gloss is now off as free-agent safety Ed Reed has all but made it official that he will be playing next season for the Houston Texans, ending his legacy with the Ravens.

In a report by ESPN, a league source said Reed has told the Texans he plans on signing with them. Reed visited the Texans last Friday but left without having a deal in place.

Apparently that changed Wednesday as Reed apparently made it clear that he will no longer be part of the team he's been with since he came into the NFL.

In a text message to NFL.com, Ravens coach John Harbaugh all but confirmed Reed's tenure in Baltimore was over, saying, "Ed is a great friend and player. I will always appreciate our time together ..."

Houston reportedly offered Reed a three-year, $12 million deal, sources indicated. But at an average of $4 million per season, that is a far cry from what Reed was seeking from either the Ravens or another team, namely, a deal close to the $7.2 million he earned last season.

The Ravens had hoped Reed would stay with the team, but at a greatly reduced salary.

"On the hopeful scale, I'd say it's of high hope," Harbaugh said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "It's high on the measuring stick. We'll just have to see how it works out."

Unfortunately for the Ravens, it worked out for the Texans, who needed to make a big free agent grab like the eight-time Pro Bowler Reed after losing three key players to free agency: safety Glover Quin to Detroit, and tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin to Philadelphia.

Reed will be reunited with former University of Miami teammates Andre Johnson and Chris Myers at Houston.

Reed spent 11 seasons with the Ravens. He holds the team record with 61 interceptions, and a league record of 1,541 return yards from those pick-offs. He scored 14 touchdowns in his career and is the only NFL defensive player to score touchdowns on a punt return, blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery. This past season, he had 58 tackles and led the Ravens with four interceptions, having appeared in all 16 regular season games as well as the playoff road to a win in the Super Bowl.

Apparently expecting Reed to leave, Baltimore is expected to soon have a visit with Oakland Raiders free agent safety Michael Huff, according to ESPN.

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was shocked that the Ravens will now go forward without Reed and now-retired Ray Lewis.

"No Reed or Ray in Baltimore????? This season is gonna be weird," Smith tweeted.

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Steve Bisciotti: Gut feeling is Ed Reed will be a Raven

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti believes safety Ed Reed will remain with the organization. That's what his gut tells him, at least.

Bisciotti made an appearance on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on Tuesday and asked what his gut feeling was on the Reed negotiations.

"That we have him," he replied.

Reed recently visited with the Houston Texans and told The Baltimore Sun he wants a similar amount to the $7.2 million he earned in 2012. Reed reportedly turned down a three-year offer that averaged around $4 million per year. Bisciotti might be confident, but tempered expectations.

"It will be tough, but we've got guys that will fill in," Bisciotti said. "Ed is a special guy and I'm encouraged that Ozzie's still talking with him."

Bisciotti spoke about the possibility of being the first Super Bowl champion since 2003 to open the following season on the road. There's a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles that might keep the Ravens from kicking off the NFL season on Thursday, Sept. 5.

"We're close. We obviously have to make a quick decision," Bisciotti said. "There's a lot of parties with Major League Baseball that have to come together and find out if it's an obstacle they can overcome.

"Disappointed for the fans. If we're forced to do it, then we have to do it. ... I'll be disappointed, but we'll get over it."

The Ravens' owner also told a story about Joe Flacco being comfortable walking away from the team's contract offer before the season. In turn, the organization was fine with declining Flacco's offer. They decided to let the season play out. In the end, Flacco came out on top with a six-year, $120.6 million deal with $52 million guaranteed.

"It was not like I was rooting against him," Bisciotti said with a laugh.

Bisciotti certainly didn't seem stressed about anything these days. It's good to be the champ.

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Are Ravens, Texans in a real tug of war for Ed Reed?

As the Houston Texans continue to haggle with the agent for veteran free safety Ed Reed after his visit Friday, the Super Bowl champion Ravens haven't closed the door on trying to retain the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

To characterize the situation as a true financial competition would be a bit of an overstatement, though.

The Ravens' tight salary-cap situation could preclude them from making Reed a major negotiating priority. Plus, the 34-year's old age, durability concerns and decline in range could work against a reunion with the Ravens.

The Ravens would like to have Reed back, but not for $6 million annually and definitely not for the $7.2 million he made in the final year of his expired six-year, $44.5 million contract.

As for the Texans, a league source with knowledge of the situation characterized the Texans' initial three-year offer as low enough that a fast deal was unrealistic. Talks are ongoing with the Texans and Reed's agent, David Dunn, who has kept Ravens officials informed of what's going on as both teams and Dunn attend the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

Players for both the Ravens and Texans remain hopeful that Reed chooses their team, but it appears that the Texans are willing to commit more money to the nine-time Pro Bowl selection.

"Any team that's fortunate enough to get him is getting a Hall of Fame player," Texans quarterback Matt Schaub said Monday night at the Ed Block Courage award banquet at Martin's West. "He's one of the best if not the best safety to ever play the game and still in his prime. If you can add that kind of player, the leadership, the intensity he brings to his job, he's going to make the whole team better.  It's the nature of the business. We'll see what happens."

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who attended the event and accepted Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs' award on his behalf, said he has remained
in touch with Reed throughout the process.

"That's the business side of it," Smith said. "It's tough for a lot of people to understand, especially the fans. We'll see what happens. I hope he ends up back in Baltimore. I've been texting him, not about what's going on, but just talking to him and seeing how he's doing. We'll see.

"He always has a positive attitude. Fans are killing him on Twitter, but he's taking it in stride. He's enjoying it."

Former Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, who was in town to accept an award for San Diego Chargers teammate Quentin Jammer, is hopeful that Reed will conclude his career in Baltimore by signing one more contract with the Ravens.

"It's difficult," Carr said. "Once a player starts getting older, organizations don't want to invest in a player that's older. Ed Reed has been such a special player and he means so much, not only on the football field, but as a leader and teaching a lot of the young guys what to do in that secondary. Especially with Bernard Pollard leaving, I think it's really vital for the Ravens to sign him back.

"As a fan and a former Raven, I hope he stays here in Baltimore. It's unfortunate so many players who were part of the success are gone. It's the business and the salary cap doesn't give you too much wiggle room. It's weird because you can never predict what Ed's going to do."

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On Ed Reed letting go of the Ravens

Ed Reed is sure acting like a guy who's hoping the Baltimore Ravens will still step up and give him the kind of deal he's looking for.

But more likely he's facing the harsh realities of an expensive, aging superstar.

ESPN.com's Ashley Fox doesn't think Reed is going to get the two-year deal with between $10 and $11 million he can have from the Houston Texans in Baltimore.

If the Ravens can move on from Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, they can move on from Ed Reed. Life will go on.

And really, it is time. The Ravens can cut ties with Reed, a beloved member of the franchise, and be good. They can do it with a clear conscience. They won a Super Bowl with Reed, despite all the insanity of last season, when Reed flirted with retiring or quitting or spending time with his family or whatever he was going to do.

The Ravens are loyal, but giving Ed Reed big money would be bad business.

Baltimore stood by him. It won with him. And a decade from now, when he is retired, Reed can come back with (Ray) Lewis and Boldin and Ray Rice and Joe Flacco and celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their greatest professional achievement, and there should be no bad blood. There should be cheers and roses and good feelings.

It ended the way it was supposed to, with Reed on top.

And now it should end.

I agree. It's hard to see and accept the end, I'm sure. But it's not like he doesn't have other opportunities.

If Houston -- where good friend Andre Johnson is a star receiver -- doesn't feel like a fit, it may be hard to find anything comfortable.

As Fox says, the Ravens are taking emotion out of it. As hard as it may be, Reed's got to do the same.

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Report: Ed Reed at center of Ravens-Texans struggle

The Houston Texans allowed Ed Reed to leave town without a deal Friday. Getting the Pro Bowl safety to come back might be a chore.

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported the Texans will face competition for Reed's services from the Baltimore Ravens at next week's NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

La Canfora said a deal for Reed is likely to come together in Arizona, with top brass from both teams planning to meet with Reed's representatives. The Ravens are expected to make a push to re-sign Reed after the Texans' offer "wasn't substantial enough" to lock down the 34-year-old safety, according to La Canfora.

A report from The Baltimore Sun on Friday stated interest between Reed and the Texans remained "heavy," according to a source, but USA Today reported the Ravens "won't let him walk without a fight."

With Reed's better days behind him, it's clear the Texans didn't blow him away with their offer. That has opened the door for Baltimore to fight for Reed, who certainly would look awkward playing in anything but Ravens purple.

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Ed Reed recruited by Andre Johnson

Updating an ongoing story, free-agent FS Ed Reed (Ravens) went out to dinner with Houston Texans team officials, WR Andre Johnson, and OL Chris Myers Thursday, March 14. Johnson actively recruitEd Reed to potentially join the Texans.

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Baltimore Ravens determined to hold on to Ed Reed

PHOENIX -- Don't expect Ed Reed to leave the Baltimore Ravens without Ozzie Newsome waging a determined bid to keep the all-pro safety.

The Ravens general manager told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday night that he anticipates Reed's status will be finalized in the coming week, and that he expects to meet with agent David Dunn this week while in town for NFL owners meetings.

Reed, 34, an unrestricted free agent, completed a two-day visit with the Houston Texans on Friday without striking a deal that could add to the list of impact players to defect from the Super Bowl champions.

The scenario reminds Newsome of the case in 2009 with Ray Lewis, who was also represented by Dunn as he explored the market as a free agent before ultimately returning.

"Four years ago, we went down this same road with Ray," Newsome said. "Dave always does a very good job of keeping us in the loop. That doesn't mean that Ed will come back, and it doesn't mean that he will leave."

It could hinge on whether Newsome puts together an offer strong enough to convince Reed to stay put. Reed, preparing for a 12th NFL season, earned $7.2 million in 2012.

Newsome would not discuss specifics of his proposed deal, and Dunn could not be reached for comment.

Keeping Reed, though, would obviously represent a much-needed offseason victory for the Ravens and Newsome, who after signing Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the richest contract in NFL history (6 years, $120.6 million), were rocked by a series of departures as the new league year began last week.

Newsome, strapped under the $123 million salary cap, traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick -- the most that could be salvaged for the big-play receiver who appeared destined to be released after refusing to cut his $6 million salary. Then a pair of emerging linebackers, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, departed on the first day of free agency with contracts totaling $75 million. And cornerback Cary Williams bolted, too. This, on the heels of the retirements of Lewis and veteran center Matt Birk.

While several pillar players remain -- including Flacco, linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice -- it will be incumbent for the Ravens to have another strong draft next month and for the younger talent that Newsome brought aboard over the past couple of years to emerge as significant players.

"I've learned through the years, whether it's on offense or defense or special teams, you've got to be careful for how quickly you transition," Newsome said.

"You've got to make sure that you contain certain elements, while you let other elements go."

Reed, a likely Hall of Famer and respected leader, is surely one element that Newsome isn't quite ready to let go of without a last-gasp attempt to keep him.

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Speculation mounts that Ed Reed will be a 49er

He may not have two tickets to paradise, but he could have one-way air fare to San Francisco.

On Monday, when the news broke that Ravens safety Ed Reed has hired agent David Dunn, a league source who is as plugged in as anyone predicted that Reed will sign with the 49ers.

Earlier today, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted that some believe the Niners will make a push for Reed if they lose safety Dashon Goldson.

Since we strongly believe that Niners are highly likely to lose Goldson, Reed necessarily is in play.

Strengthening the potential connection is the fact that Dunn also represents 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Which means that, in the sudden NFC West arms race that has broken out between the 49ers and the Seahawks, Seattle will need to respond with a bold move of their own.

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Ed Reed leaves Texans' building without deal, talks continuing

After two days of being aggressively recruited by the Houston Texans, veteran free safety Ed Reed left Texas on Friday afternoon without agreeing to terms as he returned to his home in Atlanta.

In what remains a fluid situation with the two sides still haggling over money and not so far off financially that doing a deal would be unrealistic, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year plans to contemplate his options over the weekend while attending to a previous obligation unrelated to football.

Reed is seeking a contract ranging from $6 million to $7 million per year, and the Texans' proposal is at roughly a $5 million annual average, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.

Talks aren't expected to advance again until the NFL owners meetings that start Monday in Arizona. Reed was paid $7.2 million last season in the final year of his Ravens contract.

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One source said that Reed's agent, David Dunn, is shopping the Texans' offer around the NFL.

The Ravens have kept tabs on the situation by remaining in contact with Reed's representatives. Although the Super Bowl champions still hold interest in Reed, 34, their tight salary-cap situation and his asking price makes him returning to Baltimore far from a lock, per a source.

The Ravens didn't stand pat Friday as Reed was in Houston. They reached an agreement in principle with former Dallas Cowboys starting defensive end Marcus Spears on a two-year, $3.55 million contract.

Spears, 30, is slated to take a physical and sign his contract within the next three days.

As for Reed, his six-year, $44.5 million contract expired after the season and he became an unrestricted free agent.

Reed was impressed with the Texans' sales pitch and felt comfortable with the AFC South organization during his two-day visit, per sources close to the situation.

And Reed delivered that sentiment via his verified Twitter account while heading to the airport, writing: "Houston is a good city, great time with everyone!"

Reed was ferried to Houston with general manager Rick Smith on Texans owner Bob McNair's private jet, dining Thursday night with coaches and former University of Miami teammates: wide receiver Andre Johnson, one of his closest friends, and center Chris Myers.

Johnson told Houston reporters, including the Houston Chronicle, on Friday that he remains upbeat about the Texans' chances of signing Reed.

 “Ed said, ‘Get me to Houston,’ ” Johnson said. “I think we’re going to get it done. Everything is positive. He’s a good friend and a great player. He’s a great leader and a ball hawk. I’d love to have him be part of our organization.”

Despite an aggressive push to land Reed, it didn't result in the quick deal that many expected.

Whether Reed, who intercepted four passes last season and picked off San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl in his home state of Louisiana, goes on other visits remains unclear.

The Indianapolis Colts, coached by former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, have already addressed the safety position by signing LaRon Landry. The 49ers have met with Louis Delmas and Charles Woodson, but Delmas returned to the Detroit Lions on a two-year deal.

The 49ers, whose head coach, Jim Harbaugh, and general manager, Trent Baalke, are, like Reed, represented by Dunn have yet to bring in Reed for a visit, but are regarded as a potential suitor for the nine-time Pro Bowl selection.

For now, the Texans are the focus for the Reed camp.

And the Ravens are intent on finding bargains that fit into their budget.

That includes continuing to hold dialogue with former Pittsburgh Steelers star outside linebacker James Harrison, according to his agent, Bill Parise.

Former Ravens strong safety Dawan Landry is another possible link for the Ravens after being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Spears is a 2005 Cowboys first-round draft pick who was selected 20th overall out of LSU.

He was cut this year after signing a five-year, $19.2 million contract in 2011.

Spears, 30, has 226 career tackles and 10 sacks with three forced fumbles. Last season, he had 25 tackles and a sack in six starts.

A natural 3-4 defensive end at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Spears was released after the Cowboys hired defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and changed their primary base defense to a 4-3 front.

The move reunites Spears and Canty after both entered the NFL with the Cowboys eight years ago.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has made strengthening the defensive line a priority and has already signed former New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty to a three-year, $8 million contract since the start of free agency.

“The base of a good defense is to be good along the defensive line,” Newsome said in a statement. "We didn’t play to our standards last season, partly because of injury. With the expected better health of players like Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee and the additions of Marus Spears and Chris Canty, we have a chance to improve.

"Spears, like Canty, can play multiple positions along the line. He brings a lot of snaps and big game experience to us. We like the way Marcus plays. He will fit in with the Ravens way of playing.”

Meanwhile, tight end Dennis Pitta, who was assigned a second-round tender of $2.023 million, was the subject of two preliminary inquiries from NFL teams, according to sources.

Because Pitta wasn't assigned the first-round tender of $2.879 million, the Ravens are slightly vulnerable should another team submit an offer sheet. They own the right of first refusal to match any offer sheet. If they didn't opt to match, and no one has submitted an offer at this time, they would be compensated with a second-round draft pick.

The restricted free agent market is notoriously dead, but NFL teams do have a high opinion of Pitta.

It's unclear if the interest of teams will translate into any action regarding Pitta, though.

The Miami Dolphins, who had a high grade on Pitta coming out of BYU, filled their tight end spot with former New York Jets starter Dustin Keller on Friday.

The 49ers are another team believed to be interested in addressing the tight end position.

No offer sheet has been submitted for Pitta, though.

Pitta is a young player the Ravens would ideally like to sign to a long-term deal in the future.

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Texans send owner's jet to pick up Ed Reed

If there was any lingering doubt that Ed Reed was intent about testing the free agent market and leaving the only NFL organization he’s ever known, it should have been erased Thursday afternoon when the long-time Ravens safety stepped off a plane adorned with a Houston Texans’ logo.

Texans general manager Rick Smith traveled to Atlanta on team chairman and CEO Bob McNair’s private plane to pick up Reed at his offseason home and then brought him back to Houston where the unrestricted free agent spent the day at Reliant Stadium, meeting with team officials. All indications were that Reed was extremely impressed by the visit.

While no deal was struck and the cash-challenged Ravens maintain interest in him, Reed was scheduled to have dinner with Texans' coaches and spend the night in the Houston area and seems poised to become the latest member of the Super Bowl XLVII champions to bolt to another team. Reed even talked about the Ravens, who he played with for 11 seasons, in the past tense.

“It has been a great ride,” Reed said to a small group of reporters, including one from the Houston Chronicle, after arriving at Reliant Stadium. “The fan support has been truly amazing, a lot of love and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It’s definitely tough, but after 11 years, you pretty much understand things about the business. After leaving a program like Miami and being around the great people in Baltimore, I think the transition [to a new team] will be all right.”

The Texans, who lost starting safety Glover Quin to the Detroit Lions on Wednesday, rolled out the red carpet for Reed and chronicled his visit on the team’s Twitter account as if he was a rock star. The account proclaimed “Wheels up!” when McNair’s plane took off for Atlanta and then noted when Reed entered the team offices. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips also took to his Twitter account to say that Reed had stopped by his office for a talk.

“This is classy, man,” Reed, a Louisiana native, told reporters. “This is southern hospitality. It’s a great feeling.”

A source with knowledge of the situation indicated that the Texans have been communicating with the 34-year-old since Tuesday’s start of free agency and they were prepared to get close to Reed’s asking price, which is believed to be $6 million annually. Contract parameters had already been discussed before Reed arrived Thursday in Houston.

“It’s mutual,” Reed told reporters early in his visit. “Both of us are contenders and want to get a championship, but we still have some things to work out. Conversations have been great, amazing. We’re on the same page as far as what we need to get done.”

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who spoke with the franchise leader in interceptions before free agency started to let Reed know where the team stood, did not respond to a request for comment about the situation.

Reed’s pending loss would continue a mass exodus from the Ravens since they won their second Super Bowl with a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. Center Matt Birk and middle linebacker Ray Lewis have retired. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded. Guard Bobbie Williams and safety Bernard Pollard were released. Linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Cary Williams have left in free agency.

All told, the Ravens have lost six starters from the Super Bowl and eight players who started a game at some point during the 2012-13 campaign. And that number could grow with Reed seemingly poised to leave and left tackle Bryant McKinnie and nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu immersed in free agency.

At the season wrap-up news conference last month, Newsome spoke of wanting to make the organization’s relationship with Reed “last a bit longer.” However, after what has transpired over the past couple of weeks, re-signing the veteran doesn’t seem to fit with the Ravens’ offseason trend of getting younger and cheaper, particularly on defense.

The loss of Reed, coupled by Lewis’ retirement after 17 seasons, would leave the Ravens without the two players who have defined the team’s defensive excellence. Reed started every game for the Ravens this past season and finished with four interceptions. However, he was not the big-play threat that the Ravens have grown accustomed to and his tackling issues were problematic at times.

Still, he was one of the team leaders and he had earned his status as one of the best free safeties to ever play the game. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and former Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, he’s had five or more interceptions in seven of his 11 NFL seasons, and his 61 career regular-season interceptions are a franchise high and the most in the NFL since he entered the NFL.

No Raven appeared to enjoy the Super Bowl victory as much as Reed, who celebrated winning his first ring less than a half hour from where he grew up. In the days that followed the win, Reed said that he planned on being a Raven for the rest of his career.

However, from the moment he stepped off McNair’s plane today, it became increasingly clear that Reed and the Ravens could be parting ways, perhaps as early as Friday.

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Ed Reed visits Texans; 49ers and Colts also interested

Ravens future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, who quietly hired an agent over the weekend after years of representing himself, is visiting the Texans on Thursday and could meet with the 49ers and Colts, according to league sources.

Reed's pedigree and leadership distinguish him on the free-agent market, though he is 34. The Texans have a need after making strong efforts to retain Glover Quin, who signed with the Lions. The 49ers are still looking for help as well, and it's worth noting Reed is very close with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who he played for in Baltimore and in college.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome spoke with Reed before the market opened and said the team would monitor his situation and would see how the market would shape up, though Baltimore did not extend an offer at that time.

Reed is considered by many the greatest safety in NFL history and is coming off a strong playoff performance, where his presence dissuaded stars like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady from throwing downfield.

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Ed Reed in driver’s seat with Ravens

As one of last year’s Sunday Night Football games went to break, producer extraordinaire Fred Gaudelli played the song Driver’s Seat.  Peter King and I quickly tried to recall the name of the band.

I guessed Foghat, primarily because I like saying the word “Foghat.”  It was actually the one hit from one-hit wonder Sniff ‘n’ the Tears.

And then I couldn’t get the song out of my head for like 10 days.

It’s now clanging around in my relatively hollow noggin again, after typing the headline to this story.  But it was the only way to describe the current situation in Baltimore.

With Ray Lewis gone and Anquan Boldin gone and Paul Kruger gone and Dannell Ellerbe gone, the Ravens have to keep Ed Reed.  Which means that they may be paying more for Reed than they wanted to pay.

It all started, in our view, with the gamble the Ravens made in 2012 regarding Joe Flacco’s contract.  They didn’t give him what he wanted at the time, knowing that if he led the team to the Super Bowl they’d have to pay the piper at the appropriate time.

The problem is that, when the Super Bowl MVP gets a new contract only a few weeks after the game and becomes the highest-paid player in league history in the process, it becomes very difficult to persuade anyone else on the team to take anything less than top dollar.

It was already a foregone conclusion that the Ravens couldn’t/wouldn’t give Kruger what he could get elsewhere.  But the Ravens misplayed their hand with receiver Anquan Boldin, taking advantage of his “I’ll retire if I’m cut” comments to Pro Football Talk and trying to squeeze him into taking less money.

Why should he take less money when the Super Bowl MVP is getting $20.1 million per year?  The fact that at least two other teams were willing to absorb Boldin’s $6 million salary proves that, for a player of his caliber, $6 million for one year isn’t too much.

The Ravens may have similarly underestimated Ellerbe, who said last month, “My heart is in Baltimore, I love Baltimore, I love the fans, I love talking to y’all guys and I know I’m not going to talk to y’all somewhere else.”

It all changes once a $29 million check gets written to Flacco.  If winning the Super Bowl means getting paid if you can and there’s a team willing to pay more than the Ravens, then you chase the cash.

That’s why the Patriots apparently tried, subtly, to create the impression that Tom Brady’s new contract results in less money in the future and less money now.  When guys like Wes Welker are considering the possibility of making more elsewhere, the “take less and win” vibe can make a difference.

In Baltimore, the Ravens’ gamble resulted in Flacco getting the more not less — and it has created an atmosphere where everyone else justifiably wants that, too.

Advantage Ed Reed.

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Ravens need to play it smart with Ed Reed

The Baltimore Ravens say they want Ed Reed back, and the nine-time Pro Bowl safety wants to return. Sounds like everyone should expect Reed to pick off passes for the Baltimore defense next season. But it's not that simple. In fact, it's rarely that simple when an aging all-time great reaches free agency.

The last time the Ravens faced a situation like this was 2009 with linebacker Ray Lewis. Baltimore let Lewis test the free-agent market, and he returned to the Ravens 20 days later. It was a smart move with Lewis, and it would be a smart move with Reed.

Given the Ravens' salary cap situation, which is about $11 million under, Baltimore has to take this calculated risk with Reed. Yes, he could end up in Indianapolis or New England, where he could wear matching hoodies with Bill Belichick. The Ravens can only make their best offer to Reed before free agency begins Tuesday and hopes he either accepts the deal or doesn't get a significantly better offer later. Baltimore was justified to overspend on Joe Flacco, a quarterback entering the prime of his career. The Ravens just can't do it with a 34-year-old safety, which would result in losing cap room to sign someone like linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

This is a delicate situation. The key for the Ravens is not letting it become an emotional one. Reed is the third-best player in Ravens history behind Lewis and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and is one of the best to ever play safety in the NFL. The Ravens value Reed's leadership, perhaps even more since Lewis' retirement. Some teammates say Reed is a more influential leader than Lewis in recent years. The Ravens also respect how much Reed's presence alters an offense's game plan.

General manager Ozzie Newsome clearly would like to keep Reed. Based on his history, Newsome doesn't want a future Hall of Fame player to end his career elsewhere. Just look at Ogden and Lewis, who were both Ravens for life.

Newsome, though, is the architect of two Super Bowl champion teams because he usually makes the right choice on the tough calls. The Ravens can't invest a big signing bonus to a player who is no longer a consistent playmaker, struggles at tackling and contemplates retirement nearly every offseason (except his free-agent one, of course) because of a nerve impingement in his neck. There's a good chance that Reed isn't the Ravens' top priority in free agency, and that's even after signing Flacco. Baltimore has a bigger need at inside linebacker, which makes Ellerbe more valuable.

So far, the Ravens haven't shown any urgency with Reed. They decided against using the franchise tag on Reed, which would've kept him around one more year for $8.64 million. Team officials said they planned on talking to Reed a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, but Reed told The NFL Network on Monday that he has yet to hear from the Ravens.

"Hopefully that call comes soon," Reed said.

This is what the Ravens are banking on. Newsome said a few days after the Super Bowl that "if you watched his body language over the course of the last eight to 10 days that he loves being here in Baltimore and I think we can use that to help make that relationship last a little bit longer."

Reed maintains his intention is to remain in Baltimore, telling the NFL Network this week, "I am a Raven, plan on being a Raven. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. But if it happens, I am a football player. I can adapt to any situation.”

This sounds like if things are close contract-wise, Reed prefers to remain in Baltimore. The problem for the Ravens is they won't be able to match a sizable offer made to Reed. The Patriots are $25 million under the salary cap and the Colts have $44 million in cap space.

Why are those two teams most heavily linked to Reed? Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano recruited Reed to play college football at Miami, and Belichick has made his fondness for Reed so well-known that Tom Brady joked the coach was going to adopt him and call him "Ed Belichick."

The length of the contract shouldn't be an issue. Reed is looking for a two- to three-year deal. The question is how much are teams willing to spend on him. Reed leads all active players with 61 interceptions, but he only has a total of seven the past two seasons. He is one of the most respected leaders in the locker room, but he's been far from a perfect teammate. He called out Flacco during the playoffs last season and skipped the mandatory minicamp last year. Reed is also a liability on running plays and runs after catches, missing 15 tackles last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

If the Ravens lose Reed, they can try to find a safety late in the first round just like they did with Reed in 2002. The top free safety prospect, Florida's Matt Elam, should be available at the No. 32 pick.

The Ravens' preference, however, is to bring back Reed. Baltimore watched Lewis have a storybook ending to his career, and the team would like to see Reed retire as a Raven as well. But, when it comes to one of the shrewdest football players of his generation, the Ravens have to be equally wise in dealing with him this offseason.

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About those Ed Reed Pats stories ...

Remember back at the Super Bowl when Ravens safety Ed Reed created a little Patriots-based buzz by saying any player would love to suit up for a coach like Bill Belichick? He even mentioned that he wears his sweatshirt the same way as Belichick, with cut sleeves.

The trickle-down effect of those remarks was a frenzy of speculation that Reed -- scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 12 -- could wind up in New England.

Reed extinguished the likelihood of that possibility during an appearance on NFL Network's "NFL AM" show Monday, saying the following:

"At the Super Bowl, I was asked if I would play for Coach Belichick and my answer was: ‘What player wouldn’t play for Coach Belichick?’ He is a good football coach, has a great mind for football. I met Coach Belichick at a Pro Bowl. He is a great guy, great competitor and seems to understand his players. I was just asked the question at the time [but] I am a Raven, plan on being a Raven. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else, but if it happens, I am a football player, I can adapt to any situation."

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: This is a situation where context is important, as Reed was led into a discussion on the Patriots at the Super Bowl. It sounds like if things are close contract-wise, Reed prefers to remain in Baltimore. Because of that, and the Ravens' desire for Reed to return, the possibility of Reed to the Patriots appears to be one with longer odds than one might have thought a month ago. Furthermore, by signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a contract extension, the Ravens picked up more salary cap space this year to bring back players such as Reed.

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Ed Reed hasn’t heard from Ravens, can’t see himself elsewhere

Now that Joe Flacco’s contract is done, the Ravens are free to start talking to other free agents they would like to keep around for a Super Bowl defense.

Safety Ed Reed might be on that list, but the team hasn’t reached him yet. Reed told the NFL Network Monday that he’s yet to hear from the Ravens about a contract for the 2013 season, but said that he hopes they call soon because he’d like to remain in Baltimore.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone. Hopefully that call comes soon,” Reed said. “I’m a Raven. I plan on being a Raven. I couldn’t see me anywhere else right now.”

Reed might not be able to envision himself in another uniform, but he didn’t sound totally closed off to the possibility that he’ll continue his career with another team. He said he thinks he should be paid a salary based on both what he’s done in the past and his current ability, a nebulous price that could push him out of the range that the Ravens are willing to pay. If that happens, Reed said he’ll “adapt” and move along.

Reed should have other suitors, so that plain to remain a Raven may need to be revisited at some point in the next few weeks.

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Ed Reed Reached Out To Tyrann Mathieu

Few players coming out of this year’s draft have as many off-the-field questions as former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.

The 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist known as the “Honey Badger” missed all of last season after getting dismissed from LSU’s team for reportedly failing numerous drug tests, and he then went through rehab last summer.

His focus over the next few weeks is to convince teams that he’s trustworthy and worth the investment of a draft pick. Through the pre-draft process, Ravens veteran safety Ed Reed has reached out to his representatives to provide some guidance to the 20-year-old defender.

“He never talked to me personally but he's reached out to my adoptive parents,” Mathieu said Sunday at the NFL Combine. “He's reached out to my agent and [former LSU defensive back and current Arizona Cardinals cornerback] Patrick Peterson."

Reed works with and advises a number of young players around the NFL. Just last year he reached out to South Carolina State safety Christian Thompsonicon-article-link, who the Ravens ended up drafting in the fourth round.

Mathieu, who is projected as a mid-to-late round draft pick, told reporters that he hasn’t used marijuana since being arrested for misdemeanor possession Oct. 25.

"I've been to rehabs, I've been to counseling, I have a sponsor,” Mathieu said. “I'm surrounded by people who do what I want to do and that's be a professional football player. I think the last few months have been going pretty good for me."

Mathieu burst on the national stage during his sophomore season at LSU, as he showed off his skills as a dynamic playmaker on defense and in the return game.  He drew comparisons to Reed based on his nose for the football, and ability to find the end zone once he got the ball in his hands.

Mathieu went on to finish fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season, and he admits that he got caught up in his own success.

“I think half of it is you actually start believing the hype,” he said. “You actually start believing the newspaper clippings and the other half is, ‘Hey, I'm young and I want to have some fun.’ But at the end of the day I have to be a different kind of person.”

As fast as Mathieu rose to prominence, his mistakes ended up costing him a season of college football and millions of dollars in the process.

“At the end of the day I'm not focused on money right now,” he said. “I just want to start playing football again because for my whole life I played it for free. To play now for a couple hundred thousand dollars, it's still football to me."

His ability to show NFL head coaches and general managers that he’s trustworthy over the next few weeks will be pivotal in determining where he ends up getting drafted, and his hope now is that he convinces somebody he deserves a second chance.

"I'm not totally asking them to trust me right now," he said. "What I have asked is for them to give me an opportunity to play the game. I've had a lot of time to reflect on it, especially without football. It's really given me a different outlook on life and it's just about being the right kind of person."

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Ed Reed gets taste of Hollywood on Oscars red carpet

While some of my Around The League colleagues spent the last few days in Indianapolis watching large men labor in Spanx, The Powers That Be sent yours truly to Hollywood to cover the Oscars.

This was not a bad deal. My job was to observe Ed Reed, the Baltimore Ravens safety who was flown in to serve as the red-carpet correspondent for the "The Rich Eisen Podcast." Rob Gronkowski originally was booked, but he pulled out late in the week. You'll have to wait for his 2023 autobiography, "Gronk Reading Book" (Simon & Schuster), for more details.

It was disappointing to lose Gronk. After all, dropping that dude into the mad pop-culture vortex that is Oscar night had the potential to collapse the universe into itself. Reed was a solid replacement, though, and his breezy temperament served as a nice yin to the chaotic yang that raged around us on Hollywood Boulevard.

I decided to document the afternoon in running diary form. All times are Pacific and only vaguely accurate. Everything else happened exactly as I say.

2 p.m.: We are in very tight quarters on the red carpet. Ed, his buddy Glenn, Eisen producer Chris Brockman, myself, a cameraman and a sound guy all traffic in the surface area of a phone booth. We're basically recreating the cover art from "Hello Nasty." Half of Gronk's right shoulder would've fit in this space. As my mom says, "Everything happens for a reason."

2:03: To our right are two 20-something women broadcasting live to China. To our left, several Spanish-language broadcasters with sharp elbows continuously scramble. It's a safe bet neither side is aware a Hall of Fame safety is in their immediate vicinity.

2:10: The red carpet is broken down into three distinct lanes. The far lane borders bleachers that house fans who roast in the sun and scream loudly when prompted by Chris Connelly. The center is an express lane. Look at it like an E-ZPass for A-listers. We're on the other side of that.

2:20: A man and woman stroll the carpet showing off an Oscar statue. This is the totality of their job. Ed (we're now on a first-name basis) now has held the Lombardi and an Oscar in the same month. That's a solid February.

2:37: We have an alarming number of older men wearing toupees here. We're talking some seriously lush rugs. It's like an Uncle Lewis from "Christmas Vacation" convention.

3:00: The bigger celebs are arriving. Ed chats up the star of "Life of Pi" (No, not the tiger. It's a kid named Suraj Sharma). Sharma easily earns the award for the Celebrity Who Has Most Obviously Never Heard Of Ed Reed Before.

3:08: Did you know Chris Pine and Chris Evans are two different people? I'm serious. One Chris walked by, then the other one followed about 30 seconds later.

3:15: Ed briefly chats with "Avatar" star Zoe Saldana. He ends their conversation by telling Saldana to say hi to Nia Long for him. It's not clear why. This is why Ed Reed is the best.

4:13: "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy just iced us. Made eye contact and kept walking. This will not be forgotten.

4:23: Charlize Theron takes a narrow lead over Jessica Chastain and Olivia Munn as the actress whose on-screen hotness best translates in-person. Surely this is her greatest achievement.

4:24: Speaking of Charlize, Reed can't figure out how he knows her until his buddy Glenn mentions "The Legend Of Bagger Vance." Later, a visit by Don Johnson prompts a "Tin Cup" reference. Who knew Ed Reed was such a cinephile in matters of the fairway?

4:35: Remember how perturbed Tommy Lee Jones looked at the Golden Globes? Well, the Surly Meter is cranking again on the carpet. It's like he's method acting for that long-awaited "Cobb" sequel.

4:38: Halle Berry floats past us. She looks radiant and appears not to be a day over 30 (she's 46). She's basically the Hollywood equivalent of Tony Gonzalez. Having seen Berry in the flesh, Ed feels complete. "Yo, we good. We good to go. Let's go."

4:58: "Django Unchained" star Jamie Foxx takes the express lane. Ed is upset. Ed counted on having some QT with Foxx. Says Ed: "Django 1 needs to meet Django 2!"

5:00: "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart just chugged through the express lane on crutches. It was weird.

5:03: Ben Affleck books -- seriously, he's almost running -- right past us. He's clocked (unofficially) at 4.24 seconds. Chris Johnson is nervous.

5:09: Now things really are heating up. Steven Spielberg just took the express lane. I briefly made eye contact. I think he now owns me.

5:12: Grizzled red-carpet veteran Robert DeNiro takes the express lane. Jennifer Aniston, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones all will do the same.

5:15: Former Ravens cheerleader Stacy Keibler spots Ed and gives him a big hug. This is especially fortuitous for us since Keibler's boyfriend happens to be that George Clooney guy. Clooney approaches Ed, groans and says, "You hurt me bad. I'm a Bengals fan."

5:20: The red-carpet portion of the Oscars is over. Ed and his buddy find a security guard with a Ravens allegiance who gets them inside for the ceremony. I walk to a gas station, where I catch a ride back to the office. The difference between Ed Reed and myself never has felt so stark.

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Ed Reed Covers Oscars For NFL Network


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PHOTO: George Clooney, Ed Reed talk Ravens-Bengals


It may have been the unlikeliest scene on the red carpet before the Oscars show Sunday night when George Clooney, an admitted Cincinnati Bengals fan, was confronted by a certain safety for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

Ed Reed, working the scene as an interviewer for “The Rich Eisen Podcast,” greeted Clooney, whose girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, is a former Ravens cheerleader.

“Clooney said to me, ‘Hey, Reed, you hurt me bad — I’m a Bengals fan,’” Reed told SI.com’s Richard Deitsch on Sunday night. “I told him, ‘Hey, man, they hurt themselves!’ But it’s awesome he’s a Bengals fan. I really enjoyed talking with him.”

New England’s notorious tight end Rob Gronkowski had been the early choice to stand outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and ask questions, but that fell through and Reed stepped up. Reed’s performance can be seen on “The Rich Eisen Combine Special” will be shown at 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday on The NFL Network, with audio on NFL.com/iTunes on Wednesday afternoon.

“Usually I’m the guy not doing interviews,” said Reed, when asked by Deitsch to analyze his work. “I’m focusing on my job. So to do something different was fun. I think I did all right.”

He certainly looked fine in a stripey tux, purple bowtie and purple and black shoes. After his interviewing duties were over, he ended up backstage with the help of a security guard who is a Ravens fan and yapped with the stars. “I also shook hands with Halle Berry,” Reed said. “I wanted to take a picture with her, but she walked out so quick. Beautiful woman, man.”

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Ed Reed is the model for top safeties in 2013 NFL draft class

INDIANAPOLIS —— Veteran fee safety Ed Reed has been a constant presence in the NFL for nearly a dozen years, instinctively patrolling the Ravens' secondary and baiting quarterbacks into miscues.

Although he's not here at the NFL scouting combine, Reed's name was frequently mentioned by younger safeties that admire him and attempt to emulate his passionate brand of football.

"No doubt, I try to mold my game after him," said Texas standout Kenny Vaccaro, who's regarded as the top prospect in a deep safety class. "He's a Hall of Famer, and he's a ball-hawk. All young safeties watch Ed Reed."

Florida junior safety Matt Elam has always envisioned himself playing like Reed.

He'd love to pattern his game after how Reed pounces on errant throws and delivers punishing tackles.

"He'll hit you, he'll pick the ball off, ball hawk," Elam said of Reed. "He can do it all, so I feel like I can do it, too."

Elam is the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals safety Abram Elam. When asked if his brother might get upset that he's trying to mirror Reed instead of him, Elam replied: "I don't think he'll mind. He understands."

That's how much Reed's cerebral, free-wheeling style resonates with the safeties that grew up watching him.

Reed, 34, is approaching a career crossroads now that his six-year, $44.5 million contract has expired and he's set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time.

Reed has declared that he intends to continue playing, and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has expressed optimism that the nine-time Pro Bowl selection will ultimately remain with the team. However, the Ravens' tight salary cap could prevent the Louisiana native from finishing his career in Baltimore.

Reed could also be in demand from coaches who respect and know him, such as the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick and the Indianapolis Colts' Chuck Pagano.

"It's hard to imagine a Ravens defense without Ed Reed," said Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, a former Ravens director of player personnel who was working for Baltimore when the Ravens drafted Reed in the first round of the 2002 NFL draft. "He's a fixture with the Ravens, just like Ray Lewis. It would definitely be strange to see him playing in a different uniform, but nothing lasts forever in the NFL.

"Ideally when you're replacing a player at any position, you have a year or so where you bring in a young player and they learn from the veteran. Maybe that's what could happen with the Ravens and Ed this year, but it's definitely a good group of safeties for them to look at."

If Reed's final game with the Ravens does wind up being their dramatic Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, executives, coaches and scouts are plotting contingency plans in case he doesn't return.

The Ravens have met or are scheduled to meet with most of the best safeties that have assembled here to audition for the NFL. That includes Vaccaro, Elam, South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger, Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson and many others.

Elam doesn't rank far behind Vaccaro on most NFL teams' draft boards, according to analysts.

In three seasons for the Gators, the stocky 5-foot-10, 202-pound player finished with 176 tackles, six interceptions, three forced fumbles and 19 pass deflections.

Although Elam is regarded as a big-time hitter who might start out at strong safety as he transitions to the NFL, the All-Southeastern Conference selection believes he has the cover skills to play either spot. In the NFL now, many schemes call for the safeties to be interchangeable.

"I play very hard, and I like to strike people," Elam said. "I feel that's what helps me stand out the most, but I'm very versatile. I can cover slot receivers. I can go down and cover. I can go in the box and tackle."

Other safeties getting high marks from NFL teams: LSU's Eric Reid, Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien, Fresno State's Phillip Thomas and Georgia's Baccari Rambo.

Thomas intercepted eight passes last season. Cyprien was a Senior Bowl standout who has cornerback skills in a safety's body.

"There's a strong safety class," Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said. "In our minds, there are five or six starters in this class at safety and that's rare to me."

As far as Elam is concerned, though, he's the best. NFL teams might disagree, though, and so would Vaccaro.

"I'm very confident in myself," he said. "I feel that I can do a lot of things for teams: special teams, covering, tackling."

Swearinger has played every position in the secondary for the Gamecocks, lining up everywhere from cornerback, free safety, strong safety and nickel back. The 5-10, 208-pound player runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

"I have great ball skills," Swearinger said. "I'm not only just a safety. I'm an athlete. I want to be a ball-hawk. I just want to make plays. A lot of teams said they like my aggressiveness."

Swearinger has been linked to the Ravens in a few mock drafts and has already had one informal meeting with them and a formal interview scheduled for Monday.

Swearinger grew up watching Lewis and Reed confound offenses, and would ideally like to join the Super Bowl champions.

"I see myself fitting right in with the Ravens," Swearinger said. "Losing a leader like Ray Lewis, I consider myself a leader first and foremost. So, I think I would go right in to being a defensive leader."

Regardless of what part of the country they hail from, studying Reed is something these safeties all have in common.

Especially how he intercepted 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.

"Ed Reed is definitely one guy that I do watch a lot," Jefferson said. "It's his instincts. You watch the Super Bowl. A critical play of the game is when he's in man-to-man and he comes off and gets Kaepernick to throw the ball."

Just like his competitors, Jefferson is aware of the potential job vacancy in the deep middle portion of the Ravens' secondary.

"That'd be a beautiful place to be," Jefferson said. "Super Bowl champs, you know what I mean?"

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Why the Patriots need Ed Reed

ESPN Insider KC Joyner makes the case that free agent safety Ed Reed is the key ingredient for New England to make another Super Bowl run. Joyner:

At first glance, this offseason does not look to be one where the Patriots will make one of those moves, as their current roster situation could make them place a higher priority on keeping players such as Welker, Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Woodhead and Aqib Talib on the 2013 roster.

As important as those players are, the potential decline of Tom Brady and the fact that the distance between New England the rest of the AFC title contenders is likely diminishing means a return to the status quo won't be enough for the Patriots to earn a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.

To do that, they need to find a way to sign Ed Reed.

But can the Patriots woo Reed to New England? The cash-strapped Ravens may be hard-pressed to keep him. Joyner:

It's not as if this move is an impossible pipe dream, as Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has indicated he will not place the franchise tag on Reed, and at last check the Patriots had $18 million in cap space. In addition, as noted by AFC East blogger James Walker, New England will likely make additional roster moves to add more salary cap space, so the Patriots may be able to make an offer that the cap-challenged Ravens will not be able to match.

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Newsome remains hopeful that Ed Reed will return to Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Over the past week, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome have expressed desire to bring back safety Ed Reed for another season in Baltimore.

Newsome said Thursday the feeling is mutual, but Reed will take his time.

"Unofficially, we've had conversations," Newsome said during the team's end-of-season press conference at Ravens headquarters. "I think he wanted to let some time clear. And at that point, he and I will sit down.

"He realizes there may be some other options out there, but I think if you watched his body language over the course of the last 8-10 days that he loves being here in Baltimore, and I think we can use that to help make the relationship last a little bit longer."

Reed, 34, is a free agent this offseason and has yet to hire an agent, Newsome said. The Ravens have some tough salary cap decisions to make with quarterback Joe Flacco in negotiations for a new deal. Reed struggled with a shoulder injury for the majority of the season and failed to make the All-Pro team for the first time in six seasons despite playing in each game, but he did intercept San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a Super Bowl XLVII victory Sunday.

His six-year, $44 million deal is up, and while teams like the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have ties to the vet, one teammate believes he'll be back in Baltimore.

"Honestly, I don't know what the front office is going to do, but you've got to believe and trust that they're going to do everything they can to lock a future Hall of Famer up," said Ravens safety Bernard Pollard this week. "I know Ed wants to be here. We all want Ed here."

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PHOTO: Ed Reed Poses Through Roof of Military Hummer During SB Parade


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Bernard Pollard says Ed Reed “has to come back” to Ravens

Ravens safety Ed Reed is due to become a free agent.  Some believe that the Patriots could try to sign him.

Teammate Bernard Pollard thinks it shouldn’t come to that, and that the Ravens and Reed should continue their long-term relationship.

“They’re gonna do everything they can,” Pollard told SportsRadio 610 in Houston.  “Obviously, I don’t know what the front office is going to do.  But you’ve got to believe and trust that they’re going to try to do everything they can to lock a future Hall of Famer up.  He has been great to this organization, to this city. . . .  Coach Harbaugh is pulling for them to lock him up, and I know Ed wants to be here.  We all want Ed here. . . .  He has to come back.”

It’s easy to say that, especially in the wake of the Ravens capturing the true essence of “team” en route to a Super Bowl win.  But the challenge for the Ravens and the players who are due to become free agents or who have contracts that carry large cap numbers will be to determine whether a balance can be struck between paying the players fair value and managing a salary cap that isn’t expected to go up by much, if at all.

The Patriots were able to pull that off, getting guys to take less while winning three Super Bowls in four years.  If the Ravens hope to remain successful, they’ll need to do the same thing — starting with the new leader of the team, who’s in position to leverage the franchise into a contract averaging $20 million per year.

Though Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl and the MVP award that went along with it, it was the team’s defense that held (some would say literally) the 49ers out of the end zone at the conclusion of the game.  Without the Ravens having enough money to sign or keep quality players, the next five or six years for Flacco could be more about making money than chasing more championships.

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PHOTO: proCanes Damien Berry, Bryant McKinnie & Ed Reed Strike A Pose While Out Celebrating Super Bowl Victory


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VIDEO: Ed Reed Shares Super Bowl Trophy With Ravens Fans During Parade In Baltimore Streets

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VIDEO: Ed Reed Sings “Two Tickets To Paradise” At Ravens’ Parade

You’ve been a pro for a long time now, long acknowledged to be one of the best at what you do. You’re headed for the Hall of Fame some day… but your career hasn’t included the ultimate achievement of a championship. And you’re in your 30s now, so time’s running out. But then it all comes together. Your team goes on a magical run to a title. You’ve done it. Your place in history is secure. Your career lacks nothing.

So what do you do, when you’re celebrating the culmination of everything you’ve ever worked for with a throng of adoring fans? You sing. Do you care if you’re not an especially talented singer? Of course not – and no one else does either. You’re in the moment, basking in the post-championship glow after a long journey to get there. Everyone will eat up everything you do, even if what you do is sing badly. Dirk Nowitzki knew it, and you better believe Ed Reed knows it too:

And some bonus “Seven Nation Army” crowd-baiting at that. (Wonder how John Harbaugh felt, though, when Reed poked fun at the Niners’ “Who’s got it better than us?” rallying cry, considering it originated with Harbaugh’s father.) This wasn’t Reed’s first brush with the song, but it was undoubtedly the sweetest. And, his teammates probably wouldn’t mind if it was his last. But today, that didn’t matter. Ed Reed’s finally a Super Bowl champion. Sing as badly as you want, Ed. No one does have it better than you right now.

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John Harbaugh says Ravens want to bring back Ed Reed

Holding a huge unlit victory cigar inside the Ravens' locker room after winning the Super Bowl, free safety Ed Reed made it abundantly clear he wants to keep playing football.

"This is not it!" Reed said. "This is not it! I'm not done. I'll reassess things the way I always do and we'll tune in and get back to you all. It's all about the moment. I'm not even thinking about this. I love this game. If I'm able to do it, I'll be doing it."

After toppling the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Reed spoke with coach John Harbaugh about his ambition to return.

Although both sides seem to want the same thing and Reed isn't currently inclined toward retirement after contemplating it in the past, it's a complicated situation.

Reed's six-year, $44.4 million contract has expired. He's 34 years old and has a significant injury history, including a nerve impingement in his neck, a torn shoulder labrum and a surgically repaired hip from a few years ago. Reed said following the game that he played through sprained medial collateral ligaments in both knees.

Although Reed's range has declined, he remains an instinctive defender who had four interceptions in the regular season and picked off 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is hopeful that a compromise can be reached. Reed is scheduled to meet with general manager Ozzie Newsome in the next few weeks to discuss his status.

Reed has no representation currently, but has met with agents within the past six months and is expected to eventually hire a new one for any negotiations that might come up.

“We had that conversation on the bus ride away from the stadium actually,” Harbaugh said. "He and I both agreed that we want him back. I want him back, and Ed wants to come back.

“You never know how these things are going to work out, but we are going to work like crazy to work it out because Ed’s a Baltimore Raven. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”

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'This is not it. I'm not done,' Ed Reed says of future

NEW ORLEANS —— Ravens veteran free safety Ed Reed has never embraced a conventional approach.

So the Louisiana native wasn't keen on the idea of retiring after a Super Bowl victory in front of his family and friends.

Following the Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Reed declared in the locker room emphatically that he has more football left in him.

"This is not it," Reed shouted. "This is not it. I'm not done."

Reed, 34, has battled multiple health issues, including a torn shoulder labrum and a nerve impingement.

Brandishing a huge unlit cigar in his mouth, the St. Rose, La., native said he's more than likely to keep playing the game as long as his body cooperates.

"It's all about right now," Reed said. "I'll reassess things the way I always do and we'll tune in and get back to you all. It's all about the moment. I'm not even thinking about this. I love this game. If I'm able to do it, I'll be doing it."

Reed intercepted 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the first half.

"He overthrew it," Reed said. "Corey Graham did a great job on the backside by discouraging and making him throw it behind Randy. He threw it too high. I'm just happy to catch it, man."

For Reed, this marks a perfect ending to the season.

The Destrehan High product takes an immense amount of pride in being from the New Orleans area.

"To do it for the hometown, in the hometown, to do it for Baltimore — there can't be a better feeling than that," Reed said. "I'm blessed and grateful. I'm just so grateful."

Reed said he's not done having fun. He has plans to celebrate here in New Orleans.

"This season, man I'm ready to kick my feet up, but I can't," Reed said. "I'm ready for [New Orleans brass band] Rebirth. Ready to second-line all the way up Poydras [Street], man. We about to walk all the way back to the hotel like we do it in New Orleans."

Reed's younger brother, Brian Reed, died two years ago after jumping into the Mississippi River. Brian Reed had battled mental illness.

"It's bittersweet because we have been through a lot," Reed said. "Been through a lot as men. Been through a lot as a team."

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PHOTO: Ed Reed Celebrates With Lombardi Trophy


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PHOTO: Ed Reed & Ray Lewis After Failed 4th Down Conversion


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Edward Reed makes them proud in Louisiana

SAINT ROSE, LA. — Edward Reed was a mess.

Jeanne Hall — the woman the Ravens’ safety calls a second mother — can’t find any other way to put it when she thinks back to the classes he missed and the assignments he disregarded as a freshman at Destrehan High.

But he was such a charming, clever mess — a kid who wrote romantic poems and played football like no one the school had ever seen. “You’re either going to be a comedian or a preacher,” she used to say on the many nights he stayed at her home, trying to get his world in order.

Though Hall has worked with thousands of Destrehan students and hundreds of football players, there’s a reason she keeps Reed’s picture on her desk, beside snapshots of her biological children.

“You know, Edward, everybody’s not blessed like you, the talent you have,” she would tell him. “So you can waste it or you can do something good with it. And he chose to do something really good with the talent.”

That’s why Super Bowl week in New Orleans has been such a proud time for Hall and others who helped Reed emerge from this place. He has returned not only as an all-time-great player, but also as a son who fulfilled their fondest hopes.

Much of the Ed Reed we know from Baltimore — the player who discerns patterns on a football field with rare genius, the mentor who shares his wisdom with teammates and youngsters, the mercurial personality who disarms you with offbeat humor one day and withdraws completely the next — can be traced back to this town of 8,122, located hard against the east bank of the Mississippi River.

Though he spends most of the offseason with his son in Atlanta, Reed keeps Saint Rose close to his heart. His parents and siblings still live here, and Hall still works at Destrehan High, from which Reed graduated in 1997. Every summer, Reed comes back to hold a camp for hundreds of local kids, running with them on the same fields he trod as a youth star.

When Reed, 34, sang “Two Tickets to Paradise” after the Ravens won the AFC championship, he wasn’t just commenting on the glory of reaching the Super Bowl. He was celebrating the fact he would be going home to do it.

“You can’t take this out of him,” said Hall, who speaks with him at least once a week and frequently travels to watch his games. “He’s small-town Edward. He’ll always be small-town Edward.”

All week in New Orleans, Reed has played belle of the ball, merrily holding court with the reporters he often avoids during the season.

He remembered coming to the Superdome as a teenager during Super Bowl week, his reward for winning the local Punt, Pass & Kick competition. Visions of that experience flashed in his head as the Ravens prepared for this year’s AFC championship game. Were they a portent of a trip home for the Super Bowl?
“Before we played the Patriots, I started seeing those images, but I wasn’t saying anything about it,” Reed said. “It was just like, ‘Lord, for real? Is this real?’ I knew we had to play this game, and it’s just awesome.”

A loving mother
Here, they still call him Edward.

Saint Rose wasn’t the toughest place to grow up. It’s an increasingly middle-class suburb of New Orleans, with nearly equal black and white populations. It has gentrified some since Reed’s childhood.

His father, Ed Sr., was a welder and his mother, Karen, kept the house and tried to keep five sons full on baked chicken, macaroni and cheese and jambalaya. It was a loving home, by all accounts.

Karen Reed has not given many interviews, but she came to Destrehan this week to talk about her second son, who surprised her with a new house in Saint Rose when he had enough money. She wore hand-sewn purple Ravens boots, an AFC championship T-shirt and purple nail polish.

“It means a lot,” she said of her son’s attachment to Louisiana. “He loves working with the kids here.”

Karen grew up an only child, raised by her mother and grandmother, so Ed and his brothers became everything to her — in her words, “my sons, my daddy, my brothers.”

The family has experienced its share of pain. Two years ago, Ed’s younger brother, Brian, leaped to his death in the Mississippi River after an encounter with a local sheriff’s deputy. But she dwells on the happy side.

“God is good,” she said. “Blessing me with all them boys, and then one of them is an NFL player. I couldn’t believe it.”

Saint Rose was a place with enough temptations that a boy could idle his life away.

And Reed seemed to be drifting off track when Ben Parquet, a longtime student advocate for the St. Charles Parish school system, got a hold of him. Parquet’s wife, a middle school teacher, had noticed the boy’s intelligence and charisma. Even then, Reed’s athletic skills drew others to him. But he missed classes and rarely focused on his work.

“He was a mischievous kid but with a lot of potentials,” Parquet said. “I saw him as a kid who could do something with his life. We just had to corral his energy and move it in a positive direction.”

Parquet told Reed his talent would amount to nothing if he didn’t become more serious. He would slap the teenager in the chest and say, “Hey, man, I need your attention.”

One afternoon, when Reed was still in middle school, Parquet took him up to Destrehan to watch a few practices. He wanted to get him excited about something that lay ahead.

Reed moved up to the high school without completing middle school. He was too old to remain with the younger kids.

The switch didn’t flip right away, but he was headed to the place where he’d find himself.

'Best athlete I've ever seen'

Sports were never the problem.

Destrehan has produced a string of NFL players, including receiver Damaris Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles and punter Mike Scifres of the San Diego Chargers. (Reed swears Scifres taught him to kick).

But to this day, the coaches haven’t seen anything quite like Edward Reed. They get to cackling in a hurry as they let their minds wash back over the things they saw him do.

“He was the type of kid where if you gave him something, he could pick it up and do it right — right away,” said Reed’s track coach, Ulysses Frontha.

In football, he returned kicks as a freshman, played quarterback in a Wing-T offense as a sophomore, served as the team’s kicker and still had time to earn player of the year honors as a defensive back. No matter where he lined up, he always knew what to do when the ball came near.

One time, Frontha and Reed’s basketball coach, Charles Griffin, watched from the sideline as Destrehan played rival South Lafourche. It was fourth down late in the game, and South Lafourche lined up to punt.

“Coach and I were like, ‘I hope they don’t punt this to Ed Reed, because he’s going to bring it back,’” Griffin recalled. Sure enough, Reed streaked by them seconds later, on his way to the winning touchdown. He would later tell the coaches that he heard their sideline conversation and didn’t want to disappoint.
“That was Ed Reed,” Griffin said. “He could do things other people couldn’t do.”

He always showed up late for basketball season because the schedule overlapped with football. But he started from the minute he arrived, and he was so good that he would ruin practice drills by stealing the ball over and over.

In track, he was the long jumper and triple jumper, ran in both sprint relays and threw the javelin. As a senior, he wanted to add baseball.

“Edward, baseball is not a sport where you can just leave it for three years and pick it right back up,” said the team’s coach, Stephen Weber, now principal at Destrehan.

But Reed defied that logic as well, starting at third base and serving as the team’s relief ace, though he had little formal training as a pitcher. He hit three home runs in one game and turned an unassisted double play to clinch the league championship in another.

Reed really amazed coaches on the afternoons when the track and baseball teams competed at the same time. Give one up? Heck, no. Reed simply scooted back and forth, running in a relay one moment and hurling fastballs the next.

“If Ed Reed had decided at age 12 that he was going to play Major League Baseball, he would’ve played Major League Baseball,” Weber said. “He’s the best athlete I’ve ever seen.”

It wasn’t just his athletic talent. There was something different about him, the effervescence with which he played and practiced. Frontha remembered watching Reed as they drove to a summer track meet, bopping his head to the music pouring through his earphones.

“Man, what you listening to?” Frontha asked.

Reed laughed and slid the earphones onto his coach’s head. “He was listening to gospel,” Frontha said. “That made me realize right then and there that this kid was special.”

He also saw early evidence of Reed’s affinity for mentoring. A younger student named Tron Smith came out for the team and showed talent as a leaper. So Reed resolved to teach him the triple jump. In a year, Smith was jumping 48 feet, more than his instructor’s 45.

“Ed said, ‘Coach, you can let him jump now,’” Frontha recalled. “So he had basically worked with this one kid until the kid was better than him.”

More discipline
As great as he was athletically, Reed didn’t get his academics in order until midway through high school.

“I don’t think he really thought he could do it,” Hall said. “Edward had never tried. He had never applied himself. He’d do enough to get by and hey, that got him on the field, so that was enough.”

Just as he is now, Reed was moody, Hall said. He cared about his endeavors so deeply that he’d get very quiet at times. And then he’d sort it out and be the jokester in the room.

Reed knew he needed more discipline, and so he moved in with the Halls during the school year. To this day, Jeanne Hall wakes at 3:30 every morning and texts prayer messages to her kids, including Reed, at 4 a.m. So this warm, no-nonsense woman had no problem getting Reed to school by 8 a.m.

She remembers clearly the night she noticed a change. Reed was at her house, working through math problems after his usual 12-hour day of school and sports. She leaned over his shoulder to check his work.

“Mrs. Hall, I’ve got this,” he said. “I know it. I don’t need you to check it.”

After all the gentle and not-so-gentle pushes from his mentors, Reed had become aware of his potential.

“I think he woke up one day and said, ‘I could go places,’” Parquet remembered.

By the time he left for the University of Miami, Reed was a “sponge” for learning, Hall said, the early version of the guy who would come to be revered by Ravens teammates for his masterful study of game film.

'Just tell me what you need'
The atmosphere at Destrehan is welcoming. Students greet teachers and coaches warmly as they pass in the halls, and banners encouraging this year’s Wildcats teams brighten every wall.

As cozy as it is, when Reed comes back, he tells the kids not to limit their horizons.

“They call us crabs in a bucket,” he said. “We tend to want to pull each other down. You can say that about anywhere, but they really say it about here, being in Louisiana and what not, how tough it is in our city.”

So when he talks to kids from his town, he talks about expanding their worlds. He wants them to see in themselves what Parquet and Hall helped him see in himself.

“We tend to want to stay here in Louisiana as Louisiana people,” he said. “We’ve just got to be mindful that there are other things out there, and we really need to open our kids’ minds to get them to go to college. Get them to get away. Then come back and help the next ones behind us.”

A few summers ago, while he was home for his camp, Reed sidled up to Frontha and said, “Coach, you never ask me for anything. … Just tell me what you need.”

Hall followed up a few weeks later, and Frontha allowed that he would like to take his athletes to Dollywood while they were in Tennessee for a track meet. Two days later, he had a check in his hand from Reed to cover the trip expenses for 45 kids and their parents.

Super Bowl, here we come
Karen Reed made the trip to Foxborough, Mass., last year to watch the Ravens in the AFC championship. She felt the pain firsthand as Billy Cundiff’s kick sailed outside the upright and her son fell a step short.

So for the rematch, she stayed in Saint Rose and busied herself with other tasks, only staring at the game out the corner of her eye. As the seconds ticked down and the Ravens’ win seemed secure, she asked herself, “Lord, is this really for real?”

“She TiVoed it,” said her daughter-in-law, JaVona Sanchez, who’s married to Ed’s eldest brother. “And she’s just been watching it over and over.”

Now, Karen is knee-deep in grandsons, all counting down the seconds until they get to watch Uncle Ed play the biggest game of his life, right down the road. Every time Sanchez’s little boy, Winston, got in the car this week, he asked, “Are we going to the Super Bowl?”

They are.

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PHOTO: proCane Ravens Ray Lewis, Ed Reed & Bryant McKinnie At Their Last SB XLVII Practice

Bryant McKinnie posted this photo of himself and fellow proCanes Ray Lewis and Ed Reed at their last practice before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Reed and Lewis are not wearing their usual number 20 and number 52 respectively because the Ravens on their Friday practices usually have defensive players exchange jerseys.


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Football factory: The U's astounding presence in Super Bowl XLVII

NEW ORLEANS – Six-foot-eight-inch Bryant McKinnie, towering above everyone else in the Superdome, smiled and shared a joke about his old college team.

"We used to say if one of us didn't get to the Super Bowl," the former Miami Hurricane and current Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman said Tuesday, "we'd all take a pay cut and play for the Dolphins."

No need for that plan now. McKinnie and his Ravens teammate Ed Reed, another former 'Cane, will both play in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. So will Frank Gore, for the San Francisco 49ers. They were all on the same 2001 Miami Hurricanes roster that many consider the best collection of college talent of all time. And they are all stars.

In a league where the average career lasts four years, these three former college teammates continue to dominate more than a decade later.

And they're hardly alone.

That '01 Hurricanes team, which went undefeated and routed Nebraska in the BCS Championship Game, produced NFL players at just about every position. That Miami roster produced 17 first-round draft picks and 38 players were drafted into the NFL. Andre Johnson was on that roster. So was Vince Wilfork. So was D.J. Williams. So was Jonathan Vilma. So was Antrelle Rolle. So were Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis, who were both ahead of Gore on the depth chart. So was Sean Taylor, who was Reed's backup and made the Pro Bowl twice before being tragically killed in a home invasion. And so was 2012 Pro Bowler Chris Myers, who didn't start at Miami but logged significant playing time as a backup because, in his matter-of-fact words, "We were blowing teams out by 40 points." (That team's average margin of victory was actually 32.9 points.)

"Every now and then you get to coach a great one," says Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, who helped recruit that Miami team and coached Reed before leaving for Rutgers in 2000. "That team was littered with great ones. I don't know that there will ever be a team assembled with all that talent again."

The heft of the credit for the millennium Hurricanes' success goes to Butch Davis, the head coach who assembled all that talent in one place before bolting to the NFL. "Butch Davis was an incredible, incredible evaluator of talent," says then-assistant Curtis Johnson, who is now at Tulane. Davis' legacy is mixed because of a two-pronged NCAA investigation at North Carolina that resulted in his firing, but in 10 years as a college head coach, he recruited dozens of future NFL players and more than 30 first-round draft picks. Most came at Miami.

"We were looking for athletic, speed guys who loved football," explains Schiano. That was a directive from Davis, who got his start coaching multiple sports and always looked for players who could excel at basketball, track, wrestling, whatever. "When you coach a lot of different sports," Davis says, "you start to appreciate a lot of skills and how they work together." He would assemble his staff in a film room, look at high school games, and wait for preps to "jump off the screen."

The recruiting ground in South Florida was fertile, but a lot of the stars on that 2001 roster came from elsewhere. Reed arrived from Louisiana. McKinnie came from New Jersey. Jeremy Shockey grew up in Oklahoma. Davis didn't much care for five-star guys as much as he wanted those three ingredients: athleticism, speed and love of football. For every Andre Johnson, who probably could have played in the NFL as a college freshman, there was an undersized talent nobody else saw. "Roscoe Parrish was a midget," says Curtis Johnson. (For the record, Parrish is 5-9.)

The "loved football" part was perhaps most important. Gore was a great example, as he came to Miami despite having to wait behind Portis and McGahee. Asked at Super Bowl media day Tuesday why he didn't shy away from that, Gore said, "Competition. If you want to be the best, you have to play with the best. I wasn't scared of competition."

Gore carried a football around campus in those days, held high and tight, because he knew his day would come. "He could care less about anything but school and football," says Mike Rumph, one of those 17 first-round picks. "Most guys are chasing girls, thinking about stuff at home. Not him. First day out to practice, most guys have special sleeves or new shoes. He's out there with no gloves. Just a jersey, shorts, and helmet. He was like Mike Tyson."

There were several players on the team with that mentality. "We had tackling going on in walk-throughs," says Curtis Johnson, and that was on purpose. Davis wanted practices to be more difficult than games, even if it meant grueling workouts and ferocious drills.

"The toughest battle was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," says Schiano. "That's the thing I remember – the competition." Asked if it was as intense as the NFL, Schiano said: "In some ways even more so. At the U of Miami, we were trying to bring the program back. There was such a hunger there. That's one of the reasons they practiced so hard against each other."

Schiano remembers being disturbed in his office one spring by "a loud noise" and looking out the window to see a rowdy 7-on-7 game that included Michael Irvin, who had retired from football, and Sinorice Moss (Santana's younger brother), who was 15 at the time. Irvin, Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp had long since left campus, yet there was an unspoken expectation that the bar needed to be raised every single year. There's even a book written about the building and sustaining of the Miami program: Cane Mutiny.

"The level of work ethic was established," says Myers. "We wanted to keep that going. You wanted to prove to yourself you could keep doing what was done before."

Former players credit not only the strength coaches, but also the fact that the facilities weren't all that great. Today, major schools have professional-grade equipment. At that time, Miami had something resembling a boxing gym. That only seemed to motivate players more.

"It was the work ethic," Reed said Tuesday. "With the people we had, we tended to get the best guys."

It all culminated with a one-loss season in 2000, an undefeated season in 2001 and another one-loss season in 2002. But the 2001 team was especially dominant. The final score for that entire year, with point totals from all games added up, was Miami 512, Opponents 117.

"I really felt like we could have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals that year," says Rumph, who played five seasons in the NFL and now coaches at American Heritage High in Boca Raton. "It wouldn't be a blowout game!"

The most remarkable aspect of that team is only now coming into view. Nearly 12 years later, Gore is maybe the most dangerous player on the 49ers roster. The same could be said about Johnson in Houston, and Wilfork is a rare stalwart on a constantly rotating Patriots defense.

Yet when forced to pick a player or two from that '01 squad, two names come up: McKinnie and Reed.

Former 'Canes love to talk about the much-hyped matchup that season between "Mt. McKinnie" and defensive end Dwight Freeney, who starred at Syracuse and is building himself a Hall of Fame career with Indianapolis.

"Bryant is the best lazy player I've ever seen in my life," Rumph says. "He don't like to work out, his back is bothering him, that kind of thing. But even on his laziest day, he would not give up a sack. Dwight Freeney came to town, and Bryant literally rolled him down the field."

Miami beat No. 14 Syracuse that November day, 59-0.

While McKinnie is revered for his strength, Reed is awed for his smarts. The signature play from that championship season came when Miami struggled with Boston College into the fourth quarter and defensive lineman Matt Walters intercepted a pass deep in Miami territory. Reed raced up on his 270-pound teammate, ripped the ball out of his hands and ran 80 yards to the end zone. He was such a ball hawk that he forced his own teammate to fumble. "He had ball skills like an elite receiver and footwork like a top DB," Rumph says. "He was a coach on the field."

Davis, the architect of all this, admits he looks back at his Miami days wistfully. "In retrospect, obviously I would have loved to stay for eight, 10, 12, 15 years and maybe still be there," Davis says. "It was ridiculous how much success we had."

And it wasn't just on the field. Chuck Pagano was a secondary coach who left in 2000. Rob Chudzinski was an offensive coordinator. Schiano was defensive coordinator until the 2000 season. All three are now NFL head coaches.

In the college ranks, head coach Larry Coker is now the top guy at Texas San-Antonio. Mario Cristobal became a head coach at Florida International. Randy Shannon was in charge at Miami for a time. Curtis Johnson is now head coach at Tulane. Mark Stoops is head coach at Kentucky.

And Ken Dorsey, the quarterback on that unbeaten team, is now the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers.

Ironically, Davis has never reached that level of success again as a head coach. He struggled with the Cleveland Browns before leaving for North Carolina, which is now mired in scandal. Davis never won a national title as a head coach, but hopes to get one more shot. He's now an assistant with Schiano's Bucs.

Other lingering aspects of the Miami juggernaut are more subtle. Every time Myers gets ready to take the field for the Texans, he listens to the same song before he runs out into the din of the stadium: "In The Air Tonight," by Phil Collins. That was the song hand-picked by Davis to signal the entrance of the Hurricanes onto the field at the old Orange Bowl. He picked it to set a tempo and tone, but also to time a pregame stretch.

"The drum roll signified time to break down and go to the next phase of pregame," Davis says. "The tempo and mindset was now in place." Myers is not alone in his ritual. "Everybody still listens to that song before games," Myers says. "It brings me back to a little bit of Miami."

There is a little bit of Miami all over the NFL. In fact, there is a lot. And some of it will be on display in New Orleans on Sunday.

In fact, it's hard not to wonder how good those Hurricanes would have been if they could have experienced McKinnie's joke about playing together in the NFL: Gore, Portis and McGahee in the backfield, Johnson at wideout, Shockey at tight end, McKinnie blocking, Wilfork rushing, Williams at linebacker, Reed, Rolle and the late Taylor in the defensive backfield. And all those coaches.

Asked how good that team would have been in the NFL, Tulane's Johnson lets out a howling laugh before giving a one-word answer:


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Ed Reed ranks fourth all time with eight postseason interceptions

NEW ORLEANS -- For all he's accomplished in his career, Baltimore safety Ed Reed wondered if he'd ever reach a Super Bowl.

He's been an eight-time Pro Bowler, has played in 13 playoff games, including three AFC championship games, and has intercepted eight passes in postseason games, which is tied for fourth all time in NFL history.

But there would always be a New England Patriots or a Pittsburgh Steelers or an Indianapolis Colts team that would stand in the Ravens' way, and at age 34, Reed knew he was running out of time.

"I didn't doubt it," Reed said of playing in a Super Bowl. "I just wondered when and if. I asked that question a couple times in my career. You have to have a special team. Everything has to be clicking, and you've definitely got to want it to get here.

"Not everyone is fortunate enough to go to a Super Bowl. I'm thankful and grateful. I've been saying that the whole time. I know guys who didn't play a down (with Baltimore) and went to other teams and got to Super Bowls. You've just got to be part of something special and we're glad to have it this year."

Reed's 11-year wait was worth it. Not only will the Ravens be playing San Francisco on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII, they'll be playing in Reed's hometown of New Orleans.

"To come home, to be in Louisiana, in front of the home team, the home crowd, playing for the Super Bowl . . . I can't really explain it," Reed said. "I'm really speechless. For everything that I've been through to get to this point, everything we've been through as a team to get to this point, it's just awesome."

Though Reed has never played in a Super Bowl, he won a Punt, Pass & Kick competition at the 1997 Super Bowl at the Superdome.

"It was awesome," he said. "I remember everything, really . . . going against Craig Nall and guys like that, guys who played in the league. I was going against quarterbacks. I was a safety/quarterback athlete. I wound up winning the event, and the winner of the event came to Media Day . . . I was just standing around, me and my dad.

"I remember seeing the Superdome field, I remember seeing you guys crowd around. . . . It was just an awesome day. After that, I wound up going to Disney World and competed in their Punt, Pass & Kick."

While much has been made about this being linebacker Ray Lewis' final game, there's also speculation on whether Reed will be playing his final game for Baltimore on Sunday. Reed's six-year, $44 million contract expires after the Super Bowl, and it's doubtful the Ravens want to commit a big contract to Reed, who despite his team-leading four interceptions and three fumble recoveries, has slowed a bit.

Reed said this week that he could envision playing for the Patriots and praised New England coach Bill Belichick. But his preference would be to finish his career in Baltimore.

"I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn't want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team," said Reed, whose career 61 interceptions are the most among active players, and his 1,541 yards in interception returns rank first in NFL history. "If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore. If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon.

"The decision is solely mine. Who I really talk to is my dad and my doctor, if I'm physically able. . . . If I have the heart for it and I want to continue to play, then I'm going to do it. If I don't want to play, I just don't want to play."

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh can't imagine the Ravens without Reed in the middle of their secondary.

"Ed is a huge part of what we do," Harbaugh said. "He's a staple. Ray Lewis gets a lot of the attention, and rightly so, he's been with the organization from 1996 on, but Ed's been here 11 years now. Ed is a fixture in Baltimore. He's a fixture in the community with kids. He's huge in different schools around the city; he brings kids to practice all the time.

"He's a mentor for our players, particularly the players in the back in the defense but really our whole football team. He's a spiritual leader, he's an emotional leader, and he's a big part of who we are."

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Ed Reed: NFL fining wrong offenses

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed said Thursday the NFL is fining players for the wrong infractions.

Reed, in an interview with Comcast SportsNet Baltimore, said the NFL is "policing the wrong things, for real."

"It's so much you can do. There's so much that needs to be done, but they'd rather police certain things," Reed said. "You tend to miss things when you're making a certain amount of money, and not playing the game, you're missing out. You're just somebody upstairs wearing a suit, fining people and stuff like that for the wrong things. We're policing the wrong things, for real."

Reed was fined more than $100,000 this season for unnecessary roughness penalties.

"I don't know, man, I really don't know what to say about our commissioner (Roger Goodell), honestly ... it's probably more him and his staff who came up with the things we are being fined for," Reed said. "It's not just Mr. Goodell. I think he needs more help at the fining process, not just have do-boys who want to please you.

"... I try and stay away from as far as possible, kinda just stay away from the principal like school, stay away from the principal's office as much as possible, but obviously they found me and the way they found me, it's been ridiculous, honestly. The bad part about it (is) we were talking about how much guys were fined this year. I think I topped the charts. It's bad how the game's been policed this year and the process we have been through from the lockout with us, the lockout with the referees. C'mon man, it's all a joke ... they the ones making all the money and doing nothing."

Reed, now in his 11th season, will play in his first Super Bowl on Sunday. He collected 58 tackles and four interceptions in 16 regular-season games this season.

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Ed Reed has earned respect as one of the NFL's all-time greatest safeties

Tulane coach Curtis Johnson had known Ed Reed since he was a kid. And he knew what a special talent Reed was as a triple-threat quarterback/defensive back/kick returner at Destrehan High School in the mid-1990s.

But Johnson also had a problem when he came to try and recruit Reed to the University of Miami. The Hurricanes’ scholarships were limited because of partial probation, and Johnson and defensive backs coach Chuck Pagano were hoping to try to convince Reed to come to Miami on a track scholarship.

“Chuck’s brother, John Pagano, was with the Saints at the time (as a defensive assistant). So we went with him out to Destrehan, and we put on the film of Ed making play after play,” Johnson recalled. “And Chuck was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ So John goes, ‘I don’t know if he could play for you guys at the University of Miami. But he sure could start with us for the New Orleans Saints.’

“So that’s why we took him. Not because of Chuck Pagano, but because of John Pagano.”

Sixteen years later, Reed is still the kind of impact player the Saints could use in their secondary.

He’s 34 years old now, and he’s fighting through all the ailments that come with an 11-year career – a torn labrum suffered early this season, a painful nerve impingement that has nagged him for an estimated six or seven years, a series of concussions he’s endured.

And that little gray patch sprouting from his hair seems to be growing a little bit more each year – though Johnson said he’s always told Reed that’s a sign of “wisdom.”

Regardless, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer remains one of the most dangerous threats ever to roam the back end of a NFL defense. And he is still expected to be one of the biggest impact players on Sunday when his Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 2013 in his home turf of New Orleans.

 “Even though injuries have robbed him of some of his speed, and he’s been playing with a torn labrum, I still think he’s the best safety in the league as far as taking the football away,” said Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, who now works as an analyst for CBS. “I mean, the dude’s special. … This dude is unbelievable.

“I gave him the nickname, the ‘Ball Hawk.’ I’ve never seen a guy from that position be able to take the ball away like he has.”

Reed ranks 10th in NFL history with 61 career interceptions. And he ranks first in NFL history with 1,541 return yards.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is one of Reed’s many victims. Brees is 0-3 in his career against Reed and the Ravens, and Reed picked him off in their early days when Brees was with the San Diego Chargers in 2003.

“You talk about one of the best safeties of all time,” Brees said. “He’s one of those guys that’s extremely smart. And just a football player. He’s a ball hawk. He’s always around the ball. When you play him, as the game goes on, you see him start to kind of dissect what’s happening. And you have to become even more careful as the game goes on as to where he is and the plays he’s trying to make.”

When asked if he had to try and change his routine or tendencies before facing Reed, Brees said, “Here’s the thing. On the chalkboard, certain coverages are supposed to look certain ways. But when Ed Reed’s back there, it doesn’t look like what it’s supposed to look like on the chalkboard. He’s gonna read your eyes, he’s gonna read formations, he’s gonna read splits, he’s gonna jump certain things.

“And you just gotta be aware of where he is, or he can make you pay.”

Reed was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. He’s earned nine Pro Bowl selections. He’s been named first-team All-Pro five times and second-team All-Pro three times. He has scored 14 touchdowns in his career, and he’s the only player in NFL history to score off a punt return, a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery.

All of those accomplishments made Reed an easy choice for our list of the top-10 NFL players from the New Orleans area.

He probably belongs in the top three or four, along with quarterback Peyton Manning and Hall of Fame running backs Steve Van Buren and Marshall Faulk -- whom Johnson also recruited when he was with San Diego State.

“I was fortunate to be around two of them. And those two guys, Ed and Marshall were very similar in how smart they are. Exceptionally smart. … (Reed) is probably one of the smartest players I’ve been around, him and Drew Brees,” said Johnson, who appreciates better than most how many great players – and great defensive backs, in particular – have sprouted from the New Orleans area.

Another one of them, Aeneas Williams, is up for Hall of Fame induction this weekend. And another, 15-year NFL veteran Lionel Washington, is now serving as Johnson’s co-defensive coordinator at Tulane.

Reed rattled off a number of attributes that make Reed stand out – from his smarts to his skills to his competitive drive. He said he used to play basketball with Reed a lot, and he acted like Michael Jordan on the court. Always willing to take the final shot, always wanting to lock down the other team’s best player on defense.

Johnson said Reed was also the classic guy who would “make his teammates better.” He remembers him driving another all-time NFL great safety Sean Taylor to be the best he could be at Miami. And Reed has even given Johnson pointers over the years.

They were just in Johnson’s office recently, with Reed explaining to Johnson how he would always just follow Saints receiver Marques Colston, because he knew that’s where the Saints would go eventually.

Former Saints safety Darren Sharper said Reed gave him similar pointers before the Saints played in the Super Bowl against Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. And sure enough, Reed was spot-on with predicting some of Manning’s tendencies – including the quick slant to Reggie Wayne that was intercepted by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter to seal the victory.

But as smart and well-prepared as Reed is, his instincts are even better.

Sharper, who ranks two interceptions ahead of Reed on the all-time NFL list with 63, said he’s always been a fan of Reed because they play with that same “riverboat gambler” style.

“I love watching him play,” said Sharper, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network. “I see what he’s seeing -- knowing how to take proper angles. Anticipation. Not being afraid to take a chance.

“He definitely takes calculated risks. And I can appreciate that as someone who likes to play the game that way.”

Reed’s pro coaches speak about Reed with the same reverence as Johnson does. Both current Ravens coach John Harbaugh and former Ravens coach Brian Billick said that while it’s understandable that veteran linebacker Ray Lewis is getting so much attention leading up to his final game, Reed is a similar type of player and leader.

Harbaugh called Reed a “staple,” "a spiritual and emotional leader” and “a huge part of what we do” this week, raving about what he’s meant to the Baltimore community off the field as well as what he’s meant on the field.

Billick, who now works as an analyst for the NFL Network and FOX, said Reed has “an incredible, unique perspective on the game. He’s Ray Lewis-like in his emotion, his passion and intelligence for the game.”

And when asked for his memories of Reed, Billick laughed.

“How many times where you’re looking up and you’re going, ‘What the hell are you doing there? Oh great, you intercepted the ball! Go!’” said Billick. “Just his ability to come out of the structure of the defense and make plays is second to none.”

Reed is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, and he said he intends to keep playing. But the Saints aren’t a very realistic destination since they have limited cap space to work with and so many holes to fill on a defense that needs to be rebuilt.

And the Saints would hardly be the only team interested in his services. There’s already buzz building that the New England Patriots will make a run at Reed since coach Bill Belichick has always been so gushing with his praise for Reed.

When Belichick was asked before the AFC championship game what he admires so much about Reed, he said, “It’s everything.”

“He just does things that nobody else at that position does, or I don’t know if they’ve ever done it,” Belichick said. “He’s special. He’s really special.”

That’s as true today as it was 16 years ago.

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Ed Reed disagrees with Randy Moss' assessment of himself

NEW ORLEANS -- Randy Moss has considerable convincing to do in Super Bowl XLVII against Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, who took a swipe at Moss purporting himself to be "the greatest receiver to ever play'' since Jerry Rice "never pulled his pants down in a touchdown celebration.''

Actually, Moss only pantomimed mooning Green Bay Packers fans after his 34-yard touchdown catch during Minnesota's 31-17 win in a 2005 wild-card game at Lambeau Field.

But Reed made it quite clear why Jerry Rice was the greatest pass catcher ever, which should make for some interesting exchanges down the Superdome field when Reed is bracketing Moss in Baltimore's usual single-high safety looks.

"I watched Jerry Rice, man. And I have a lot of respect for Randy Moss,'' Reed said Thursday at the Ravens team hotel. "But I've watched Jerry Rice and his work ethic on and off the field and how he's represented the game.

"He has never pulled his pants down in a touchdown celebration and done certain things to diminish his legacy.''

Moss said during Tuesday's Media Day, "I really think I'm the greatest receiver to ever play the game.''

But greatness means a lot more to Reed, 34, than just the sheer numbers edge Rice owns on Moss. Rice is first in receiving yards with 22,895 while Moss is third with 15,292. Rice is first and Moss second in touchdown catches with 197 to 156 for Moss.

"You have to play the game a certain way before you consider yourself to be somebody like that,'' Reed said. "He is a great receiver and has been a great receiver for a long time. But you have guys out there like Lynn Swann and Jerry Rice, who really played the game, and Cris Carter.''

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Ed Reed could “definitely” see himself as a Patriot

Ravens safety Ed Reed is an impending free agent, and it’s become popular to dot-connect Reed to New England as a match with longtime admirer Bill Belichick.

The speculation was fueled when Peter King of SI.com predicted on last Sunday’s Pro Bowl pregame show that Reed will indeed sign with the Patriots. King likened the hypothetical signing to Rodney Harrison’s with the Pats, back in 2003.

Reed was specifically asked by reporters Wednesday whether he could envision himself playing in Foxboro.

“Yeah, oh yeah man,” said Reed, per the Boston Herald. “I could definitely play for coach Belichick. He is a great coach. I’m sure he can help me to expand my football knowledge even more as a player and as a coach, so if I’m ever able to be around him, just like I was at the Pro Bowl, it’s huge.

“It’s the reason why I wear my sweater cut off a little bit. He’s the first guy I saw like, ‘That’s cool.’ You know, that’s cool. He cuts those sweater sleeves, and he’ll be comfortable.”

Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the 49ers is tentatively expected to be Reed’s last in a Ravens uniform.

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Ed Reed deserves spotlight, too

NEW ORLEANS | Ten feet away in the hotel ballroom serving as the home for the Baltimore Ravens’ media availability Monday night was Ray Lewis’ mini-podium, complete with 15 cameras and dozens of reporters, some of whom weren’t speaking English.

But Ed Reed didn’t care.

Even if he will someday be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is generally regarded as the finest safety of his generation and is having a homecoming this week — he grew up in the New Orleans area.

Reed, the Ravens’ other 30-something defensive leader (he’s 34) will be in complete soak-up mode entering Sunday’s Super Bowl against San Francisco.

“I can’t explain it,” he said. “This is awesome. To come back to Louisiana in front of my home crowd for the Super Bowl, I’m really speechless because of everything I’ve been through to get to this point. I’m just trying to enjoy it and not hold anything in.”

Reed has held nothing back during a career that spans 160 regular-season games, 1,541 tackles, 61 interceptions and six All-Pro selections.

This postseason, he played all 271 Ravens defensive snaps in wins over Indianapolis, Denver and New England. This will be his first Super Bowl.

In the regular season, Reed had 58 tackles, and his four interceptions were tied for the team lead.

Vocally, Reed carried the Ravens defense when Lewis was lost to a torn triceps injury.

Lewis is a popular figure because this will be his last game, but Reed is just as important.

“He’s always been a staple,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Ray gets a lot of the attention, and rightfully so, but Ed’s been here for 11 years, and he’s a fixture in Baltimore.”

That status was in doubt a few years ago because of injuries.

Reed missed four games in 2009 (ankle) and six games in 2010 (hip surgery). This year, he has played through a torn labrum in his shoulder.

And he said he’s played with a nerve injury for the last six to seven years. “I know that’s affected me,” he said.

To fight Football Father Time, Reed said he has employed a physician who visits the Baltimore area weekly — at Reed’s own expense — to help his recovery process.

“I’ve been doing some great things with my doctor to combat the aging that we have,” Reed said. “We age faster than everybody because of what we do. The truth is that football takes a toll on your life and your body.”

Despite the acknowledgement that he has slowed down on the field, Harbaugh lauds Reed’s impact on the secondary from an emotional standpoint. And one of Reed’s biggest fans has been Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“He’s had fabulous production at whatever he’s done,” Belichick said. “His interceptions, his instinctiveness, his play-making ability, how consistent he’s been over time. He just does things that nobody else at that position does, or I don’t know if they’ve ever done it. He’s really special.”

Reed intends to play in 2013, but hopes his trip home ends with a special win.

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Ed Reed is star, mentor, figure of controversy

NEW ORLEANS — Super Bowl experience comes in all shapes and sizes, but no player in Sunday's game will be able to match that of the Baltimore Ravens' Ed Reed.

Not only has Reed already played on Super Bowl Sunday, but he has also done it on this very Superdome turf.

OK, so it was in an NFL Punt, Pass and Kick contest before the Green Bay Packers-New England Patriots game in 1997, and he was 18, but who's counting?

"It was awesome," said Reed, who is from St. Rose, La., about 30 miles west of New Orleans. "I remember everything, really. Going against [eventual NFL journeyman quarterback] Craig Nall and guys like that, guys who played in the league. I was going against quarterbacks. I was a safety/quarterback athlete. I wound up winning the event, and the winner of the event came to media day to see guys just interact with you [reporters].

"I was just standing around, me and my dad. I remember seeing the Superdome field, I remember seeing you guys crowd around guys like this. It was just an awesome day."

The stakes will be much higher when Reed's Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, and safety Reed is the linchpin of Baltimore's defense.
Since entering the NFL in 2002, Reed has had more interceptions (61) and return yards (1,541) than any other player in football.

Reed has scored 13 touchdowns in his career, including the postseason, and he's the only player in league history to score return touchdowns off a punt return, blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery.

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh referred to Reed as a "staple" and "fixture" on the team, and in Baltimore in general.

"He's a mentor for our players, particularly the players in the back in the defense, but really our whole football team," Harbaugh said. "He's a spiritual leader, he's an emotional leader, and he's a big part of who we are."

The All-Pro Reed is also a controversial figure who was levied a one-game suspension this season — later lifted — for continuing his pattern of helmet-to-helmet hits.

He was fined $50,000 then $55,000 this season for striking defenseless players in the head or neck regions. As significant as those fines were, they amounted to about one-quarter of his weekly paycheck of $423,529.

Not surprisingly, Reed thinks that the NFL is too focused on offensive players and that the rules pendulum has swung too far in their direction. He raised eyebrows with his frankness this week when asked about Junior Seau, the former linebacker who committed suicide last spring and was later found to have a concussion-related brain disease.

"Did he sign up for it? Yeah, he signed up to play football…." Reed said Tuesday. "Junior gave everything he had to football. I'm sure he's looking down and has no regrets."

On Wednesday, he clarified his comment: "When I said I know he won't have any regrets, I was talking about football, not the fact that the man passed away and lost his family."

Reed is in an interesting spot, because he might be the greatest player in this Super Bowl — perhaps more dominant at his position than Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and 49ers receiver Randy Moss have been at theirs — and yet the way he plays is precisely what the NFL is trying to change.

Asked whether he approves of the way the league is headed, issuing more and greater fines for helmet-to-helmet offenders, Reed said: "Honestly, there's a Catch-22 with that. You have to police the situation, but at the same time, you have to make sure you're doing the right thing for the players also. Not everybody is making the money that you're taking, and not every offense is deserving of $100,000, $50,000 fines.

"And these are players on that committee, [former safety and now NFL Vice President of Football Operations] Merton Hanks and guys like that, who have been in the game, but also have a boss to answer to. A lot needs to be done with it. I don't think every fine is right. You have to go back and really look at how guys play the game before you judge them, is what I'm trying to say."

Reed conceded he has some memory loss, but he's not sure whether that's attributed to football — he's had three concussions, by his count — or "sometimes I feel like I forget things, but who doesn't go through those things?"

Reed has led a privileged professional life, but also a rough one. He's 34, with patches of gray in his hair, and he has given thought to hanging up his cleats after this season, although he's not ready to make that call now.

"The truth is that football does take its toll," he said. "It does take its toll on our life and our body. So that's why physically, I was assessing myself through the years, and even now, to see how I feel. I've been doing some great things with my doctor, to kind of combat against the [aging] that we have. We age faster than everybody for what we do."

For him, though, Sunday will be frozen in time, just like that other Super Bowl Sunday was so many years ago.

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Ed Reed says he'll assess his future after the Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed might play his final game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. Or he might not. If Reed knows his future, he isn't saying. 

For the second day this week, Reed, who is 34 and in the last year of his contract with the Ravens, was asked questions about his future. And for the second day, Reed said only that he planned to come back.

"I’ll assess those things after this game. I’m just soaking all this in right now," he said as the Ravens prepare for the Super Bowl. "I’m not thinking about next year. Usually, I’m thinking about next year right now because I’m not in this game. 

"I’m so far away from tomorrow, honestly. I’m just thinking about right now, today, just soaking all this up."

Players such as Ray Lewis, who have the luxury of choosing their final game, have done that in a variety of ways.

Brett Favre tearfully retired in a press conference and came back only months later. Jonathan Ogden called up Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome and simply said he was finished.

Most players don't get that option due to injuries and diminishing skills. 

Reed has expressed concern in the past about the toll the game has taken on his body. He said has played with a nerve impingement for "six or seven years," and tore his labrum this season, among his other injuries over the years.

All Reed really wants is to walk away, literally and figuratively, on his own terms.

"Hopefully," he said. "I pray that I'm walking away, on a positive note. But I know how Father Time goes. Your skills start to diminish a little bit, so I see that."

Ravens center Matt Birk, a 17-year veteran, said he truly believes Reed doesn't know what his future holds because it's so hard to make an accurate assessment until the offseason.

"If you don't know, you don't know," Birk said. "The way I look at it, I'm playing until one day I wake up and I'm not, until I'm convinced that I can't do it or don't want to do it anymore. 

"It's a long season, physically, mentally, spiritually, you get tired. You're not really in a great frame of mind to make that decision."

For now, Reed is content with enjoying the experience of his first, and possibly only, Super Bowl.

“Deion (Sanders) just put it in perspective walking out here," he said. "He won two and he thought he was going to go back, and he didn’t. This is it right here. This is the only Super Bowl that’s going on this year, right now, that matters.”

If Reed does choose to walk away from the game, he'll likely be on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in a few years.

"He’s definitely going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer," said linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. "In my opinion there are only two safeties that come up as the greatest safeties of all time, it’s him and Ronnie Lott. 

"He’s a great player; it’s amazing that he gets to play here at the Super Bowl at home in New Orleans. With all of the tragedy and stuff that he has gone through with his brother passing away, that happened in the playoffs as well, so for him to reflect on how he felt when that happened and to be here now, he’s come strides.”

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Ed Reed on health risks: Every player signed up for it

NEW ORLEANS -- Player safety has been one of the league's primary talking points in recent years, and while everyone agrees that fewer injuries are better, there is no consensus on how to get there. Last week, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge that the NFL won't be around in 30 years, and 49ers tight end Vernon Davis predicted a spectacle resembling flag football two decades from now.

During Tuesday's Super Bowl media day, Baltimore safety Ed Reed admitted that he already feels the effects of concussions he's suffered during his 11-year NFL career.

"Sometimes I wake up and I think, where did my memory go? But at the same time, I signed up for it," Reed said. "Football has been like that for a long time, for ages. Football has always been a contact sport, and it's always going to be a violent sport, and there are going to be repercussions from that. But every player that ever played this game and will play this game, they're signing up for it."

A reporter asked Reed if former linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May and was later found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also signed up for the physical toll the NFL metes out.

"Did he sign up for it?'' Reed said. "Yeah, he signed up to play football. Things are going to happen. Do I want it to happen? No. When I was on a golf course, did I want to hear about Junior Seau? No, I didn't want to hear that. I grew up watching him play. That was a sad day. A sad day, and there have been many other guys that have been down that road that you didn't want to hear about because of football."

Reed also spoke about the league's approach to making the game safer. Specifically, sanctioning players for illegal hits.

"Not every guy can afford it," Reed said. "But teams can, and the league can. It's a billion-dollar business. You've got guys upstairs making $10 to 12 million just to sign papers and to fine people. We're talking about the wrong things sometimes."

Reed has been fined more than $100,000 this season for hits deemed illegal by the league.

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Ed Reed: RG3 prepared Ravens for Colin Kaepernick

NEW ORLEANS -- San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick won't be the first mobile quarterback who uses the read option to face Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens this season.

In Week 14 of the season, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III threw for 242 yards and one touchdown on just 26 throws in a 31-28 victory over the Ravens. Griffin was injured late in the game, but the Ravens' defense struggled against RG3.

At Tuesday's Super Bowl Media Day, Reed talked about the big difference between that December game against the Redskins and Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII matchup against the 49ers.

"We're on a better field. For all that money down in D.C. man, you'd think that field would be better. That field sucks," Reed said of the Redskins' home turf at FedExField. "That field was all mud. It was like that guy was running on water."

Reed noted that facing Kaepernick still would be a huge adjustment compared to facing Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Kaepernick will be faster than ever on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome's field turf, but the safety said the field should help out the aging Ravens defense.

The 49ers are an extremely difficult offense to prepare for. They have so many different weapons and play variations that can hurt you. The Ravens are happy that they faced the 49ers last year and a team like the Redskins this season.

"It definitely helped us out," Reed said of facing the Redskins.

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Ed Reed floats possibility of Ray Lewis returning next season

Ravens safety Ed Reed had a warning for reporters Monday: Don't be so sure Ray Lewis will retire after Super Bowl XLVII.

That's the word from NFL.com's Chris Wesseling.

“Maybe he'll play 10 games next year,” Reed said, according to Wesseling.

Lewis told his teammates before the playoffs, "This will be my last ride.” And the 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker reportedly has a multi-year deal in place to join ESPN as a commentator next season.

Lewis, 37, suffered a torn triceps in mid-October that many considered a season-ending injury. He returned for the playoffs, however, and has made 44 tackles in three games. Whether he's been his old self is up for debate.

While Reed, 34, plans to play next season, Lewis has given no indication he might change his mind. Reed has played alongside Lewis for 11 seasons and might have been engaging in wishful thinking.

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Ed Reed could be targeted by the Patriots

Last week on PFT Live, a former hard-hitting safety from the Patriots (Rodney Harrison) said that one of the things the Patriots need is a hard-hitting safety.

Enter Ed Reed?

Peter King of SI.com said during Sunday night’s Pro Bowl pregame on NBC that the Ravens safety most likely will hit the market in March, and that Patriots coach Bill Belichick (described by King as the president of the Ed Reed Fan Club) will swoop in and sign him.

That would be a far cry from the last time the Ravens let a high-profile defender test the waters of the open market.  Four years ago, linebacker Ray Lewis found no takers, and he eventually re-signed with the Ravens.

As King and I were discussing off camera, it was in hindsight a colossal blunder for the Cowboys (who were believed to be interested in Lewis) to not sign him.  The team desperately needs vocal leadership on defense, and his presence could have provided the spark that may have taken the Cowboys much farther than they have gone in recent years.

But for the Patriots’ possible interest in Reed, it’s less about intangibles and more about the need for someone who can make the secondary significantly better.  Reed can do that.  And Belichick surely knows it.

Of course, Reed will have to get past the Tom Brady kick slide from last Sunday night.  A pile of money often is helpful, however, when trying to turn the page.

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Back in Louisiana for Super Bowl, Ed Reed is all smiles, says, 'It was awesome, I'm speechless'

Veteran free safety Ed Reed wore a gray suit Monday night along with a wide grin as he embraced his first hours back in Louisiana after touching down in New Orleans.

From chowing down on charbroiled oysters with his teammates at the popular New Orleans restaurant, Dragos, to playfully tapping reporters on the arm as he worked the crowd, the Louisiana native soaked up every moment upon arrival for Super Bowl XLVII.

"I can't explain it, man," said Reed, who plans to visit his family Tuesday in St. Rose, La., for some Cajun cooking. "This is awesome, man. To come home to be in Louisiana in front of the home crowd playing here for the Super Bowl, I'm really speechless. 

"Everything I've been through to get to this point, everything we've been through as a team, it's just awesome. I'm just trying to enjoy it and not hold anything in, any emotions. To be playing in my first Super Bowl in New Orleans, it's special."

Reed's intense focus is on Sunday's matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, not on his future plans.

Reed reiterated that he has no plans to retire after stating late last week that he has more football left in him.

"That question was asked a couple of days back about this being my last ride," Reed said. "I'm not focused on that right now."

Although this would seem like a perfect ending to an accomplished career, Reed has never embraced a conventional approach.

"There can’t be no talk about us both because he’s trying to get me to come back," said Ravens  inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who is retiring following the Super Bowl. "Ed is going to do what Ed is going to do. I think both of our paths are totally different. 

"Our courses are totally different. Same mindset, but totally different paths. He’ll make his decision whenever he makes his decision. Like I told him, if he was going to go out, what better way to go out than feeling that confetti as world champions."

As Lewis, 37, prepares to walk away from the game, Reed, 34, wants to send his friend and mentor out as a victor Sunday night hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy.

"Of course, we want to send him off the right way," Reed said. "I'm not about to say this is my last game and have everybody join in with that. If that's what it takes to get the guys pumped, though. Nah, man, it's not about me."

This isn't Reed's first Super Bowl experience in New Orleans.

Back in 1997 as a high school football standout at nearby Destrehan High School in St. Rose, La., outside of New Orleans, Reed won a regional Punt, Pass and Kick competition. That earned him the right to attend Super Bowl Media Day as the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots prepared for a game ultimately won by the Packers.

"It was awesome," said Reed, who ran the Wing-T offense as a high school quarterback before signing with the University of Miami to play safety. "I still have those visions."

Reed acknowledged that the game of football has taken a grueling toll on his body.

He's been dealing with a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder for several seasons, affecting his durability and tackling. This season, he played through a torn shoulder labrum.

"When I said before I'm thinking about retiring, that's me assessing my body physically," Reed said. "I've been playing with the nerve impingement for the past six, seven years.  I know that's affecting me. I tore my shoulder labrum early in the year. That's still affecting me ergonomically. The game takes a toll on your body."

In January of 2011 prior to the Ravens' playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Reed's brother, Brian Reed, died after jumping into the Mississippi River while trying to elude police following a car chase. Brian Reed had a history of mental illness, according to his family.

"He's already proud of me," Reed said when asked about his late brother. "He's looking down on me right now. He's here with me."

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Ed Reed agrees with President Obama's concerns about dangers of playing football

The concerns raised by President Barack Obama about the potential dangers of football are shared by Ravens free safety Ed Reed.

Reed agrees with Obama, who said he would have reservations about allowing a son to play the game due to safety issues.

"I am with Obama," Reed said. "I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it, I can't make decisions for him. All I can do is say, 'Son, I played it, so you don't have to.'

"We've got some leaks in it that need to be worked out. Every medical training room should be upgraded. Training rooms can be a lot better. When you've got the president talking about it, you got something."

Reed has dealt with several serious injuries, including undergoing surgery on his hip and gutting it out through a torn shoulder labrum and a nerve impingement in his neck.

In an interview with The New Republic, Obama indicated that he regards football as a violent game.

"I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence," Obama said. "In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."

Not everyone shared Reed's opinion, though.

That included Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who doesn't like the idea of kids being urged to not play a game he loves.

"I don’t agree with that," Harbaugh said. "Football is a great game. Anybody that’s played the game knows what a great game it is. What it provides for young people, what it provides for people like me is an opportunity to grow as a  person. It’s challenging, it’s tough, it’s hard. There’s no game like football. It’s the type of sport that brings out the best in you. It kind of shows you who you are.

"You have an opportunity to make your first tackle or make your first block or do something in football, because it’s such a tough thing. It’s a little bit of a manhood test a little bit. When you get done you say, ‘You know  what, I’m a football player. I play the game of football and that makes me special a little bit.’ I think it’s a huge part of our educational system in this country and it’s going to be around for a long time.”

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco shared Harbaugh's sentiment, noting that it's not like players are forced to play the game. They take risks of their own volition.
“I think we all understand that it’s probably not a safe sport, but it’s something that we choose to do,’’ Flacco said. “When you talk about little kids doing it, they’re not having the collisions we’re having at the NFL level. I mean, they are a bunch of 50-pound to 140-pound kids. I don’t know how much damage they’re doing to each other.”

A married father of six, six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk acknowledged that Obama had certainly raised some legitimate concerns.

"I have three sons and I think anyone who is a parent can relate to that," Birk said. "Certainly it is a dangerous game and we’re finding out more and more,  every day, the long-term effects that this game can have.  I think it’s a joint  effort with the commissioner, with coaches, with players, with everybody, everybody that wants to watch and make this game as safe as it can be.  I think we’re making strides in that. Football’s a great game. 

"Obviously it’s a great game for NFL players, it’s how we make a living, but most kids who play football  aren’t going to make it to the NFL.  It’s such a great game because it teaches  you about life and lessons and there’s so much to be gained by participating in football.  It’s served us all well and just to continue to have this  conversation and continue to talk about it and just do whatever we can to make it safer  whether it be through rule change or research.”

Despite the precautions he's taken, Reed knows he'll never be the same from his grueling experiences playing the game.

"I felt like I played the game as safe as possible," Reed said. "I even tell the guys that they have to take care of their bodies, take care of themselves. If you take care of that, it will take care of you."

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VIDEO: Ed Reed's Future With Ravens

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Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome offers Ed Reed a job -- as coach

Coach Ed Reed?

It's a possibility, maybe even next season with the Baltimore Ravens if the safety is open to the invitation extended by general manager Ozzie Newsome on Friday.

Newsome revealed that Reed, who turns 35 in September, wants to be a coach one day, and that day might be coming sooner than later, considering how Reed's body has broken down the past two seasons with a nagging hip injury last season and a painful shoulder labrum problem during this season.

Reed was insistent Thursday in saying he intends to play next year and that Super Bowl XLVII -- 30 miles from his hometown of St. Rose, La. -- won't be his last ride.

Reed's view could change, however, depending on the outcome of the game against the San Francisco 49ers and the fact that Reed's contract is expiring. The Ravens will have to decide whether they want Reed back at his age and advanced salary.

There may be other teams interested, especially considering Reed's former Ravens defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano, is head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Pagano recruited Reed at the University of Miami.

No matter what, Reed will likely have plenty of options.

"Ed wants to be a coach, so he sees this as an opportunity to start his coaching career by helping those young players come along,'' Newsome said. "The thing about Ed is, he doesn't just talk about it. He goes out and works the way you have to work to get it done.''

Does Reed have an open invitation to coach with the Ravens?

"That'll be up to Ed Reed,'' Newsome said. "That will be something that (Ravens owner) Steve (Bisciotti) and I can talk about. But Ed still has a lot of football left to play. So we'll cross that hurdle. If Ed decides he wants to do that, I think we can find a way.''

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Ed Reed is Ravens' silent weapon in playoffs

Safety Ed Reed has been the Ravens' silent weapon during the postseason.

He hasn't been involved in any big plays, but he hasn't given up any, either.

One of the main reasons the Ravens have been successful against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady has been the discipline of Reed.

He isn't cheating up any more. He isn't trying to jump routes.

He is just playing back and teams are afraid to throw at him.

Brady threw two passes Reed's way, and Manning wanted no part of Reed.

There is a perception that Reed is at his best when he is gambling and out of position. Actually, the Ravens and Reed are at their best when he is playing on the back end and taking away one side of the field because teams fear throwing at him.

Reed will have to be as disciplined again in the Super Bowl because the 49ers like to use the deep ball.

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Ed Reed of Baltimore Ravens: 'I'll be playing next year'

Super Bowl XLVII will be the final game for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss possibly could go out on top as well. But don't bring up the "R" word with Ravens safety Ed Reed.

"I'll be playing next year. Next question," Reed said, via The Baltimore Sun.

Reed made it clear this won't be his "last ride."

"I just bought a bike," Reed said.

Reed has waffled on retirement in the past, but he seems definitive here. Still, there's no guarantee that Reed will continue playing with the Ravens. Reed has done an effective job helping to prevent big plays against Denver Bronocs quarterback Peyton Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady this offseason.

Reed is headed for unrestricted free agency after the season, and he would attract great interest from teams around the NFL, including the Patriots. The Ravens could use the franchise tag on Reed, but they might need to save it for quarterback Joe Flacco.

To prepare for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl, Reed has been watching film on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Reed might have to help more in run support while also trying to shut down Kaepernick's deep passes up the seam.

This could be Reed's last game as a Raven. He's still one of the big keys to their defense.

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Ed Reed says Brady’s kick slide made Ravens “want to play even harder”

Maybe the Ravens shouldn’t complain about the ungainly kick slide from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  Maybe, in reality, they should thank him.

Via CSNBaltimore.com, safety Ed Reed says the maneuver actually stirred up the road team in the AFC title game.

“Brady’s a great competitor, and I love going against him, and I know where his heart is at for this game,” Reed said.  “It was all good, man.  Kind of fired the fuel, though.  Put fuel on the fire . . . for us to want to play even harder though and hit even harder and just be successful.”

The facts support Reed’s contention.  On the next play after the slide, the Patriots kicked a field goal.  And they thereafter didn’t score another point for the rest of the game.

The Ravens, in contrast, scored 21.

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NFL fines Tom Brady $10,000 for Ed Reed kick

MIAMI — Russell Maryland remembers being an overweight kid in Chicago, wondering if some college team was going to take a chance and give him a scholarship.

To this day, he remains thankful Miami saw something in him.

Maryland, one of two Hurricanes to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, was honored by Miami on Saturday night for his looming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. At Miami, he was an All-American, Outland Trophy winner and a two-time national champion who finished with 279 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 20½ sacks.

“It means everything to me,” said Maryland, the No. 1 pick in 1991, four years after Vinny Testaverde was Miami’s first to receive that honor. “I put in a lot of hard work here at The U and anytime anybody remembers you for anything, it’s pretty special. So to come back and be recognized in this fashion in front of the whole stadium and in essence in front of the whole country as a guy who comes back home and is honored for what he did in the past, that’s an awesome thing to me, very special.”

Maryland brought his wife and three children to the game, where he was being recognized in an on-field ceremony and some other events. Many of his friends, family and some former teammates were in the stadium as well, part of the crowd watching the Hurricanes take on No. 17 Ohio State.

Like most former Hurricanes, he says the current scandal hanging over the program has been “depressing.”

Miami’s athletic department, including its compliance office, is being investigated and sanctions are expected in large part because former booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro claims he gave extra benefits to 72 Hurricanes players and recruits over an eight-year span. Maryland told a story Saturday of how vigilant Miami’s compliance office has been with him in the past, saying he could not hand players water and towels when he was a guest on the sideline for games.

Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding the Ponzi scheme, in which federal prosecutors said he bilked investors out of $930 million.

“I know these kids are good,” Maryland said. “They’re good kids. I know the program is a program of integrity overall. You may have had some kids that made mistakes, but who of us hasn’t made mistakes? Who of us hasn’t been influence by dubious people at times? That’s really the frustrating part about it for me. I just look at it as a situation where a person, one person, came in and can really tear down all the good things that we have within this university. An infection, so to speak. It really hurts my heart.”

Saturday’s game was Miami’s first home contest since the scandal broke. All boosters, and in most cases even former players, are no longer allowed on the Miami sideline, a new policy created as part of the university’s response to the investigation.

“I’ll be there in spirit,” Maryland said. “Maybe not next to them, but I’m still there.”

Maryland said he believes the university will be able to handle whatever fallout comes from the investigation, and added he has confidence in new coach Al Golden and his plan to bring the Hurricanes back to a championship-contending level.

“From all accounts, from what I’ve been hearing from afar (and) from being down here the last couple days, I really feel very strongly that it’s going to be a positive future for the guys,” Maryland said.

Maryland has been retired from the NFL for about a decade. He lives in the Dallas area, mainly doing charitable work and motivational speaking.

Click here to order Russell Maryland’s proCane Rookie Card.

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Ed Reed Says Tom Brady Texted Him With Apology After Questionable Slide in AFC Championship Game

While the Patriots came in for a hard “crash landing,” in the words of Bill Belichick, in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game loss, Tom Brady‘s slide may be what’s attracting the most attention. Brady took off for a three-yard scamper during the final minute of the first half on Sunday, sliding to avoid a big hit by charging Ravens safety Ed Reed.

Brady dropped to the ground as he slid, but he lifted his leg high up in the air and delivered something of a karate kick to Reed’s thigh. The kick enraged some Ravens players, prompting safety Bernard Pollard to take a few digs at Brady.

The NFL is also looking at the play to determine whether a fine is in order. Reed cleared the air somewhat Tuesday during an CBS Radio interview on WJZ-FM in Baltimore.

“A little slide kick [by Brady], you know what I’m saying, but it’s a tough spot the quarterback’s in,” Reed said. “You know, I understand Brady’s point. Him protecting himself. I know he’s a great player. I respect Brady and his game for all it stands for, and I know he’s not a dirty player. And emotions get going in the game.”

Reed understands when emotions take over, considering he was fined multiple times in 2012 for excessive hits. Reed and Brady even exchanged words after the play.

“For the most part, I didn’t say anything to him when he said something to me at the game,” Reed said. “He was going, ‘You want to play like that, let’s go.’ But no, Brady’s a great competitor, and I love going against him, and I know where his heart is at for this game. It was all good.”

Once the heat of the moment had passed and the game was over, though, Brady got in touch with Reed and apologize for the questionable kick. “I told him — you know, we talked,” Reed said.

“We talked actually not too long ago, we talked on the phone. He actually reached out to me, texted me. I tried to text him back, but the message exploded after 12 seconds, so I had to call him … and he’s just apologized and what not. But I told him, ‘You know, it’s good, man.’” Reed has moved well past the play at this point, looking ahead at what might be his first Super Bowl title. As for Brady, he can only look back at what might have been and ahead at what could be next season.

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NFL reviewing Tom Brady's slide into Ed Reed

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed said that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has reached out to him to apologize for making contact with him on a slide late in the first half of the AFC Championship Game. The NFL said Tuesday the incident was under review for possible discipline.

"I told him -- you know, we talked," Reed told WJZ-FM in Baltimore. "We talked actually not too long ago; we talked on the phone. He actually reached out to me, texted me. I tried to text him back, but the message exploded after 12 seconds, so I had to call him ... and he just apologized and what not. But I told him, 'You know, it's good, man.' "

During the final minute of the first half, Brady slid to the ground to end an impromptu run. The quarterback had one leg raised a few feet off the ground and it hit Reed, who emerged from the play without injury.

Reed said at the time of the incident, he did not say anything to Brady.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday that "any play of that nature is routinely reviewed."

"For the most part, I didn't say anything to him when he said something to me at the game," he said. "... He was going, 'You want to play like that, let's go.' But, no, Brady's a great competitor and I love going against him and I know where his heart is at for this game. It was all good."

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety added that he has respect for Brady.

"I know he's a great player," he said. "I respect Brady and his game for all it stands for, and I know he's not a dirty player. And emotions get going in the game."
Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has publicly complained and asserted the quarterback deserves to be fined by the NFL, which levies fines on defensive players for helmet-to-helmet hits.

Pollard said Monday, "If you want to keep this going in the right direction, everyone should be penalized for their actions."

He said Brady "knew what he was doing. It has to go both ways. Hopefully, the NFL will do something about it. If they don't, that's fine. If they do, then that's fine."

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Ed Reed overshadowed by Ray Lewis' last hurrah

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Within the NFL, even as much as Ray Lewis, the historic Baltimore Ravens' defense is known for the play of safety Ed Reed. Across 11 seasons there's been 61 interceptions, 110 pass deflections, nine Pro Bowls and an AP defensive player of the year honor.

He's considered one of the great ball hawks of all time, a brilliant return man and the smart, savvy leader that forces game plans to be built around him. There may not be a defensive player more revered in NFL film rooms over the last decade.

And yet, until the Ravens vanquished New England on Sunday, 28-13, on the strength of a second half that featured two Tom Brady interceptions and zero Patriots points, the great Ed Reed had never made the Super Bowl.

That 2000 Ravens Super Bowl championship team, from which the franchise's tradition of vicious defensive play was born, featured Lewis but not Reed, who didn't arrive from the University of Miami until 2002.

So here was Reed, 34, on Sunday playing a position that doesn't take kindly to age, finally reaching the Promised Land.

"I have no words, man," the sure-bet Hall of Famer said.

Lewis is an over-sized personality, the hulking, preaching force at middle linebacker that's dominated the franchise both in play and persona. From his epic pregame speeches to his colorful introduction dances to his star turns for every in-game mic'd up feature, everything goes through him – at least when it comes to publicity.

And no one on the Ravens voices a problem with that.

Still, he tends to soak up all the attention. There was no narrative in these playoffs about getting Ed to the Super Bowl the way one often develops around veteran stars, such as this year with Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Instead it was about getting Ray back, especially after he returned this month from a torn triceps suffered in October and declared this was his "final ride."

Yet across the locker room there is no less motivation to get one for Ed, too. And even he isn't alone. Linebacker Terrell Suggs has been a Raven for 10 seasons. Defensive lineman Haloti Ngata has done seven. There's more, including offensive guys such as tackle Bryant McKinnie, an 11-year NFL vet and Reed's onetime teammate at Miami.

"Me and Ed kept saying we want to get to a championship like we did in college," said McKinnie, in his second year with the Ravens.

Sunday the media kept working the Ravens' locker room, asking about doing it for Ray. Members of the organization all acknowledged that it was important. Then they kept throwing Ed's name in there, too.

"We have Ed Reed who has never been to a Super Bowl [too]," wide receiver Torrey Smith noted.

Even Lewis was in on that. He's not unaware of the situation. At 37, he's not the player he was and he isn't pretending that he is.

The Last Ride?

"I can only tell you, I'm along for the ride," Lewis said.

His motivation is, he said, everyone else.

"To do it for people that I really [want] to feel what that confetti felt like, just hearing your name being announced going to the Super Bowl," Lewis said.

It's not that Reed is ever overlooked, per se. His ability is unquestioned. He's never been a quiet or boring player. He's returned seven interceptions for touchdowns in his career, including a 108-yarder in 2008. His 1,541 career interception return yards are the most in NFL history. He's also a dangerous punt returner.

And there's never been a lack of praise from opponents. When this AFC title game matchup was set, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who never stops singing Reed's praises – and, who knows, may try to sign him this offseason – was asked about getting to see Ed again.

"I don't look forward to it at all," Belichick said in a statement built from past experience that turned out to perfectly predict a future one.

His career has been a long, slow fight to get to the final Sunday. For years it was about waiting on the offense to develop while the defense carried the team, only to lose bitter and often violent playoff games, to Pittsburgh or Indianapolis or, of course, these Patriots.

The Ravens had won at least one playoff game in each of the past four seasons, only to fall short of the Super Bowl each time.

Not now.

"I'm just grateful for our coaches," Reed said Sunday. "For everything we've been through since Coach [John] Harbaugh got here. He had a vision of working us a certain way and taking us through something to build something and to create this moment."

For Reed, the trip to New Orleans is perfect. He grew up a little more than 15 miles away in St. Rose, La. He's a restricted free agent, which means his days with the Ravens could be ending. Of course, he's also spoken about retirement over the last couple of years. So who knows what's next. This may be his final ride, too.

What's important is what's now, he said. After winning Sunday he raced to the locker room to call his mom and tell her he was coming home … just in case she hadn't been watching.

And that's the beauty of the entire thing, the story that never gets old: an unquestioned all-timer finally getting his moment, and immediately acting like an overexcited rookie.

Maybe Ed Reed will never garner the headlines of Ray Lewis, but this moment, this run, is as much about he and Suggs and Ngata and the others that joined a vaunted, championship defense as rookies and managed to make its legend greater.

This is, whether anyone is paying attention, their moment.

"To get here, it's amazing," Reed said. "It's amazing to be going back to New Orleans. I'm so grateful. To go to the Crescent City? Here we come, baby."
Here they come.

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Ed Reed finally gets to play in Super Bowl after years of playoff futility

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The only reason why Matt Birk brought his aching knees and battered body to training camp for a 15th NFL season was to get to the Super Bowl.

The 36-year-old Birk was bothered by neck, elbow and knee injuries during his previous three years with the Baltimore Ravens, yet he never missed a start. During the offseason, the six-time Pro Bowl center underwent surgery to repair varicose veins in his legs.

Still, Birk knew the Ravens had a shot at a championship, and he wanted to be a part of it.

“At this stage in my career, losing takes a lot out of you,” Birk said. “I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think there was a legitimate chance that I could help the team.”

Birk, safety Ed Reed and guard Bobbie Williams head a list of longtime veterans who will be making their first Super Bowl appearance when the Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3.

“It means a lot for all the guys to have an opportunity to be a part of that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “To be able to be involved with that as a leader is a huge thing. It makes you feel really good, and now you try to make the most of it.”

Birk endured 11 fruitless years in Minnesota, reaching the playoffs five times without a conference title. Then, after joining the Ravens as a free agent in 2009, he was part of three more playoff runs that ended short of the Super Bowl.

Now, Birk is poised to be part of the NFL’s biggest game.

“It’s great, obviously,” he said. “That’s the goal. That’s your dream. That’s why you play.”

Maybe Birk deserved it, after everything he went through over his first 14 years. But Birk exudes no such feeling of entitlement.

“Nobody deserves it more than anybody else. It doesn’t matter how long you play,” he said. “To be doing it with this team and just, I think, the closeness of this team and kind of the journey that we have been through my four years here — every year getting close and getting close — to finally break through, it’s pretty special.”

Reed, 34, has earned nine Pro Bowl invitations in 11 years with Baltimore and has long been recognized as one of the finest free safeties in the game. But he never got into the Super Bowl until now, and to make it even sweeter, his first appearance will be in his home state of Louisiana.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it takes time,” Reed said. “We’ve built up to this point.”

Teammate Jacoby Jones, who grew up in New Orleans, will be making his Super Bowl debut in his sixth season. After the Ravens beat New England 28-13 in the AFC championship game, Reed prepared for a trip to familiar territory with Jones in tow.

“I really don’t have any words for it,” Reed said. “I rushed into the locker room to call my mom, because I know that my family has been going through some things, so I’m just thankful to be going home and for the whole of New Orleans to see some hometown guys. Jacoby, we talked about it. We haven’t been there since (Hurricane) Katrina. We’re just grateful.”

The Ravens failed to win the AFC title game in 2008 and 2012 under Harbaugh before finally breaking through.

“For everything we’ve been through since coach Harbaugh got here, he had a vision of working us a certain way and taking us through something to build something and to create this moment,” Reed said. “We believed it, but it was just something we had to go through as men and understand each other and understand the process together.”

Williams, a backup on the line, played for Philadelphia and Cincinnati before getting into the Super Bowl in his 13th NFL season. Linebacker Terrell Suggs (10th season) and former Houston Texans stars Vonta Leach (ninth) and Bernard Pollard (seventh) signed as free agents with Baltimore for the chance to perform on the sport’s grandest stage.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who needed only five years to get it done, takes delight in seeing some of his older teammates finally heading to the Super Bowl.

“No doubt about it, I am excited for everybody that has been in the league as long as those guys have been,” he said. “To have this opportunity is pretty cool.”

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You Decide… Did Tom Brady Intentionally Kick Ed Reed?

You decide… Did Tom Brady in Sundays AFC Championship Matchup intentionally try and kick Ed Reed, or was it just an awkward slide? Leave your comments below.

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Bernard Pollard rips Tom Brady for trying to kick Ed Reed

When Tom Brady went into a feet-first slide with 20 seconds remaining in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, most people focused on the way Brady bungled the clock management on the play, preventing the Patriots from running another offensive play before halftime. But Ravens safety Bernard Pollard focused on something else.

According to Pollard, Brady intentionally lifted his right leg because he wanted to kick Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was pulling up to avoid hitting Brady on his slide.

“You’ve got to keep them legs down,” Pollard said, via CSNNE.com. “You’ve go to keep the legs down. We all know and understand what’s going on there. And as a quarterback, when you go to slide, we’re taught . . . we can’t do anything. When you come sliding, and your leg is up in the air trying to kick somebody, that’s bull crap.”

It’s impossible to get inside Brady’s brain and say whether he was trying to kick Reed or whether his foot just came up awkwardly as he was sliding. In the same way, it’s impossible to get inside Ndamukong Suh’s brain and say whether he intentionally kicked Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving, or whether Suh’s foot just happened to go in the wrong place as he was falling near Schaub.

But the NFL saw enough on the Suh-Schaub kick to fine Suh $30,000. Now Pollard, the man who ended Brady’s 2008 season with a shot to his knee, thinks it’s time for the NFL to take a look at Brady.

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Ed Reed on return to hometown for Super Bowl: 'Here we come, baby'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For Ed Reed, the Ravens' triumph over the New England Patriots sends him back to a place he cherishes: Louisiana.

The star free safety grew up in St. Rose, La., just outside New Orleans.

And now Reed is making his return with the AFC champions after they punched their ticket to the Super Bowl.

"It's just awesome right now," Reed said. "A great feeling. It's amazing to be going back to New Orleans. I'm so grateful. To go to the Crescent City, here we come, baby."

For Reed, whose family still lives in Louisiana, this marks a huge moment.

The 34-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year couldn't have written a better ending to his career should he decide to retire after playing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

"I really don't have any words for it; I rushed into the locker room to call my mom because I know that my family has been going through some things," Reed said. "So I'm just thankful to be going home to New Orleans for the whole of New Orleans to see some hometown guys. [Pro Bowl kick returner] Jacoby Jones [a fellow New Orleans native] we talked about it. We're just grateful.

"I don't think we've been there since right before [Hurricane] Katrina [in 2005]. It's just a blessing. I thank God for assembling this team and for his grace. It's been a long time coming, but it takes time. We've built up to this point. We're just thankful."

As inspired as the Ravens have been by retiring inside linebacker Ray Lewis, this marks the first Super Bowl berth for most of the players.

"I have no words, man," Reed said. "I'm just grateful for our coaches. For everything we've been through since coach [John] Harbaugh got here, he had a vision of working us a certain way and taking us through something and to create this moment. We believed it, but it was just something we had to go through as men and understand each other and understand the process together.  Our coaching staff is amazing for what they do. That process that we went through as a team, that growth."

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VIDEO: Ed Reed Tribute Song [Amazing NFL Highlights] Ravens Miami

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Free agency possible for Ed Reed

TAMPA, Fla. -- College all-star game practices are a great place for NFL scouts and personnel men to evaluate upcoming talent. But it's not all about prospect evaluation. The latest player news, coaching moves and everything else relating to the NFL are all hot topics, as well.

Here are a few nuggets I gleaned during my time on the sidelines at the East-West Shrine Game practices this week:

» One personnel executive mentioned that he wouldn't be surprised if the Baltimore Ravens allowed Ed Reed to depart via free agency in the offseason. If the 11-year veteran safety hits the open market, two logical landing spots would be the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. Reed is close to Colts coach Chuck Pagano, the former Ravens defensive coordinator, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick has never been shy about his high opinion of Reed.

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proCanes Represent More Than Any Other School on NFL Championship Weekend

In all, as many as 212 players will participate in the AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday – four teams, 53 players per team. When including players not on the active rosters of the four teams playing for a shot at the Super Bowl, however, the total jumps to more than 250.

The schools represented on the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens range from college football's elite (Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and Florida) to those situated far outside the national picture (Hillsdale, Bellhaven, Lane and Indiana).

Here are the eight schools most represented by the four teams playing Sunday for a trip to the Super Bowl:

1. Miami (Fla.): 12. P Matt Bosher, OL Harland Gunn, DL Micanor Regis (Atlanta); LB Tavares Gooden, RB Frank Gore (San Francisco); DL Vince Wilfork, DL Marcus Forston (New England); LB Ray Lewis, OL Bryant McKinnie, RB Damien Berry, WR Tommy Streeter, S Ed Reed (Baltimore).

2. (tie) Oregon: 7. WR Drew Davis (Atlanta); RB LaMichael James, FB Will Tukuafu (San Francisco); TE Ed Dickson, DL Haloti Ngata, QB Dennis Dixon (Baltimore).

2. (tie) Florida: 7. LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta); DL Ray McDonald (San Francisco); DL Jermaine Cunningham, RB Jeff Demps, TE Aaron Hernandez, LB Brandon Spikes (New England); WR Deonte Thompson (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Alabama: 6. OL Mike Johnson, WR Julio Jones (Atlanta); DL Brandon Deaderick, LB Dont'a Hightower (New England); DL Terrence Cody, LB Courtney Upshaw (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Iowa: 6. DL Jonathan Babineaux (Atlanta); LB Jeff Tarpinian, TE Brad Herman, OL Markus Zusevics (New England); S Sean Considine, OL Marshal Yanda (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Texas: 6. OL Justin Blalock (Atlanta); CB Tarell Brown, OL Leonard Davis (San Francisco); OL Kyle Hix (New England); CB Chykie Brown, K Justin Tucker (Baltimore).

4. (tie) South Carolina: 6. DL John Abraham, DL Cliff Matthews, DL Travian Robertson, CB Dunta Robinson (Atlanta); S Emanuel Cook, CB Chris Culliver (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Ohio State: 6. OL Alex Boone, WR Ted Ginn Jr., LB Larry Grant, S Donte Whitner (San Francisco); TE Jake Ballard, S Nate Ebner (New England).
Another eight schools have five players on the rosters: Arizona State, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, UCF, Rutgers, Syracuse and Illinois.

Teams with four players: Oklahoma State, Marshall, Michigan, Fresno State, Utah, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Louisville, LSU and Georgia Tech.

Three players: Auburn, Wisconsin, Maryland, California, Wake Forest, Florida State, Penn State, Kansas, Purdue, Northwestern, Texas Tech and Arkansas.

Two players: Baylor, Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College, Clemson, Connecticut, ECU, Oregon State, Richmond, San Jose State, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, TCU, UCLA, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, Delaware, Iowa State, Colorado, Tennessee State, Nebraska, Buffalo, Arizona and Washburn.

Luck of the draw plays a role, of course, but it's a bit surprising to see that schools like Virginia Tech, USC, Oklahoma and Texas A&M only have one player each on the four rosters. Not surprising? That one player represents schools like Prairie View A&M, Lane, Harvard, Weber State, Chadron State (Danny Woodhead), Hillsdale and Hofstra (which no longer has a football program).

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"He's really special," Patriots coach Bill Belichick says of Ed Reed

It's no secret in NFL circles that Ravens free safety Ed Reed is a big fan of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, getting to know him at the Pro Bowl.

As far as Belichick is concerned, it's a mutual admiration with the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Reed is an nine-time Pro Bowl selection with 61 career interceptions, returning seven for touchdowns.

Reed is the all-time leader for interception return yards with 1,541, ranking ahead of Hall of Fame safety Rod Woodson. And he ranks 10th on the all-time interceptions list, one behind Dick LeBeau and Dave Brown and two behind Ronnie Lott and Darren Sharper.

"Ed Reed’s career? It’s everything. His production," said Belichick, when asked about Reed's legacy today by New England reporters. "He's had fabulous production at whatever he’s done, including blocking kicks and returning kicks and things like that.

"His interceptions, his interception return yardages, his instinctiveness and his play-making ability, how consistent he's been over time. He just does things that nobody else at that position does or I don’t know if they’ve ever done it. He’s special. He's really special."

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Ed Reed Not Considering Retirement

The Baltimore Ravens will be in for a drastic change at season’s end with longtime linebacker and arguably the heart and soul of the team in Ray Lewis calling it a career after 17 years in the NFL.

While Lewis has dominated the Ravens’ headlines over the past week or so, another defensive superstar for Baltimore has taken a backseat in terms of retirement talk. It has been speculated for the past few years that safety Ed Reed has been seriously considering retirement with injuries and the NFL’s new rules changing his style of play being motivating factors for walking away from the game.

Although retiring with his longtime teammate seems to be poetic in a way, Reed isn’t thinking about retirement at this point in time according to Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun:

“I’m not thinking about that right now,” Reed said. “I’m football. I’m completing this year, and like I always tell you, I assess it every year. I assess myself every year physically. A guy in football, if he doesn’t do that, something’s wrong. So I’m not worried about that. I’m not focused on that. Right now, it’s playoffs, it’s Denver, it’s football.”

Reed is clearly motivated moving forward with his sights set on winning a Super Bowl title with the Ravens. Even though the Denver Broncos are his primary concern right now with the team potentially two games away from an appearance in the Super Bowl, retirement might become a desirable option if the team fails to get to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or if they ultimately have what it takes to win it all.

Reed’s true intentions and thoughts on retirement will be revealed once the season is officially over for the Ravens regardless of the outcome in the playoffs. The veteran safety may go either way with retirement or playing another year or two realistic possibilities.

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Ed Reed on December loss to Broncos: 'We were not a team that day at all'

It was an extremely turbulent week for the Ravens prior to being routed by the Denver Broncos in December.

Before a 34-17 loss to the AFC West champions, the Ravens fired longtime, oft-criticized offensive coordinator Cam Cameron one day after an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins and replaced him by elevating quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.

As the Ravens (11-6) prepare for Saturday's AFC divisional-round playoff game against the Broncos (13-3) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, free safety Ed Reed referenced the troubles surrounding the Ravens on Dec. 16 at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We had some internal stuff going on that definitely affected the way we played," Reed said following the Ravens' AFC wild-card playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts. "We were not a team that day at all."

That was apparent in terms of the Ravens' lackluster play.

Losing their third consecutive game, the Ravens trailed by 28 points heading into the fourth quarter. That followed quarterback Joe Flacco's pair of turnovers, including an interception returned the entire length of the field by cornerback Chris Harris, gave the Broncos 10 points.

The Ravens' offense was ineffective.

And the defense struggled as well with running back Knowshon Moreno running roughshod over Baltimore, hurdling a stationary Reed at one point as Manning exploited the secondary with his receivers' double-move patterns to strike deep with a touchdown pass to Eric Decker behind cornerback Cary Williams.

Will this game be different now that the Ravens get back several injured players who missed the first game against Denver? That includes offensive guard Marshal Yanda, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis, tight end Ed Dickson and strong safety Bernard Pollard with all set to play Saturday.

"It’s going to be a hard-fought game," Reed said. "This is the playoffs. We know what we got, they know what we got. We’re going down there with all of our weapons and all of our tools. And we’re coming to bang.”

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Ed Reed still not considering his future

Ed Reed had a front-row seat for Ray Lewis’ swan song at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday in what would eventually be the Ravens’ 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. But the reception the fans gave Lewis hasn’t influenced the free safety’s decision about his own future with the organization.

Reed, 34, is in the final year of his contract with the Ravens, who have not said anything publicly about whether they want the nine-time Pro Bowler to return. Reed has considered retirement the past couple of offseasons, but in the locker room beneath the stadium, he said his primary focus is on the Denver Broncos, the team’s opponent in the AFC Divisional playoff round.

“I’m not thinking about that right now,” Reed said. “I’m football. I’m completing this year, and like I always tell you, I assess it every year. I assess myself every year physically. A guy in football, if he doesn’t do that, something’s wrong. So I’m not worried about that. I’m not focused on that. Right now, it’s playoffs, it’s Denver, it’s football.”

Reed has been plagued by shoulder and neck injuries throughout his career, and it’s been speculated that those ailments have contributed to a decline in his tackling skills.

But Reed still tied cornerback Cary Williams for the team lead in interceptions with four in the regular season. He almost collected his ninth interceptions in 12 postseason contests when rookie quarterback Andrew Luck tried to complete a pass to rookie tight end Coby Fleener in the first quarter.

Unlike Lewis, Reed does not have a Super Bowl ring, which might be enough to re-kindle his interest in remaining active in the NFL. That achievement might cap a Hall of Fame career, but Reed said it doesn’t dominate his thoughts.

“Just play the game and let it come,” he said. “We work out and prepare to go to the Super Bowl like all 31 other teams in the league. And only two are going to get to play and only one is going to get to win. So prepare for it. If it happens, it’s going to be a blessing. That’s what we’re reaching for. If not, just keep on striving.”

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Could Sunday also be Ed Reed's last home game with Ravens?

Linebacker Ray Lewis will likely play his last game at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, but it might be the last home game for Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed as well.

Lewis said Wednesday he will retire at the end of the season and Reed hasn’t commented on future plans. It's possible the Ravens won’t re-sign Reed once his contract expires after this season. If re-signing Reed appeared likely, the Ravens would have made that move by now.

Lewis’ retirement appears to be the start of reshaping this team and bringing in some fresh blood, so to speak. The Ravens are hoping that Lewis and Reed have enough big plays left in them to make a deep run into the postseason. They certainly won’t go down easily.

Lewis has been so great for so long that he has his own coaching tree. Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, Mike Smith, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio and Chuck Pagano were Ravens assistants who later became NFL coaches during Lewis’ career.

That’s a testament to Lewis and what he brought to this franchise and to the field every Sunday for 17 years.

If Lewis was 1A, then Reed became 1B. They both went to the University of Miami and when you thought of the Ravens defense, those were the two faces that immediately came to mind.

Lewis has the more storied career, but Reed is also headed to the Hall of Fame. He still can make big plays, and he's always made them look easy because of that long, easy stride.

Reed has always been a different type of guy, but once you cut through his reckless style and decisions on the field, he is a good person with a big heart. Few players in the Ravens organization have done as much for the community as Reed.

I expect the Ravens to allow Lewis to do his “Squirrel” introductory dance one last time Sunday, but it would be just as nice if they did something for Reed as well. It’s not too often a city gets to honor two Hall of Famers possibly playing their last home game at the same time.

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Guess who thought Ed Reed's fine was excessive

Somebody thinks the $55,000 fine levied on Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed for hitting New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz on Sunday was excessive.
And it's not Reed.

"I think it's pretty steep. It's a pretty hefty fine, but it wasn't my decision," Cruz told reporters Friday. "It wasn't anything I could do about it, but I think that's a pretty hefty fine, to say the least."

Reed delivered a shoulder to Cruz's head as Cruz turned upfield after making a catch. The league deemed that an unnecessary blow to the head and neck area.

Three safeties – Reed, the Atlanta Falcons' Chris Hope and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Will Allen – have been fined for hits on Cruz this season. The fines add up to $92,875.

"I guess dancing a little salsa in the end zone has been prosperous," Cruz said, though it's not like he receives the money. "Nobody likes to see the salsa man get hurt, so I don't know what it is."

Of Reed's fine, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, "Obviously, the system is not perfect."

"The motivation is correct and the idea is right," Harbaugh added. "It's still a work in progress. Like I said before, our guys are doing everything they can. I'm really proud of our guys [with] the way that they've responded to try to play within the rules and respect player safety.

"Sometimes it's easier said than done, but they are doing their best."

Reed was suspended for one game earlier this season for a blow to a defenseless receiver, but won an appeal and had the punishment changed to a $50,000 fine.

Reed and Cruz agreed the hit was legal following Sunday's 33-14 Ravens win. Reed, 34, was hoping to avoid suspension after being flagged for a 15-yard penalty on the play.

"I don't know what is going to come of it. I had the referee whispering into my ear on the second play," Reed said. "All I like to do is play the game. I talked to Troy Aikman before the game about this – him and Joe Buck. They asked me how my game changed. I don't really know what to do with it. I thought it was a decent hit."

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Ed Reed fined $55K by NFL for illegal hit on Victor Cruz

The NFL fined Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed $55,000 for his illegal hit on New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Fox Sports insider and NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer reported Thursday.

NFL.com's Albert Breer, via a source briefed on the fine, confirmed the league's punishment of Reed, who was flagged for the fourth-quarter hit during the Ravens' 33-14 win last Sunday.

The NFL suspended Reed for one game in November for his third hit on a defenseless player in a four-year span. Reed appealed, and the suspension was replaced with a $50,000 fine.

"I just play the game," Reed told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday before the fine was announced. "I let them make those decisions."

Reed hasn't been thrilled with the way the NFL has ruled on his hits. Cruz said after the game that he believed the hit was legal.

At least it didn't draw another suspension.

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Ed Reed focused on finishing season before free agency

Ed Reed has a decision to make when the 2012 season ends.

Once the season comes to a close, Reed will become a free agent. He's unlikely to be franchised by the Ravens unless the organization reaches a long term deal with Joe Flacco before the free agency period rolls around.

He insists he isn't worrying about it right now, however.

But even though it's not on his mind at the present time, Reed feels he has enough left in his tank to keep going. It will be a situation where the future Hall of Famer, at age 34, will have to weigh the pros and cons before reaching a conclusion.

"I know, physically, I feel like I can play," Reed said. "But also, physically, I have concerns about my life after football."

Though he's still dealing with the ever-constant pain from a nerve impingement in his neck, as well as a shoulder injury sustained from a torn labrum earlier in the season, Reed has yet to miss a game in 2012.

He's fifth on the team in tackles with 58 and has four interceptions. Reed also has 15 pass deflections and three fumble recoveries.

The injuries clearly haven't slowed Reed down that much as he's constantly receiving treatment at the Ravens' training facility and at home.

"The ailments I have to deal with as a player, for me to play all 16 games, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do," Reed said. "My doctor in the offseason and the midseason maintained myself. I'm doing the right things physically. It's something I take pride in."

Even so, Reed joked that age has crept up on him after he was asked if his range from sideline to sideline remains the same as it once was.

"It's definitely not what it used to be when I was 24 vs. 34," Reed said. "But that's where the mental part comes into it. You slow down physically but mentally you get stronger and understand the game a lot more, which allows me to play the game a certain way and understand how to play the game, put myself in different situations."

Reed doesn't appear ready for retirement any time soon. His numbers are indicative that he still has more football to be played if his body can hold up.

But when Reed does feel the need to leave the game behind, he wants to be involved in the health aspect of the NFL. With the different treatments Reed undergoes to maintain his body, he wants to share his methods with younger players as they come up through the league.

"It's such a grueling time in your life for football players," Reed said. "That's why health is an issue across the league in the past and present, because of the physicalness and violence of the sport. It's something I want to be a part of, and I'm glad my body is bouncing back from the ailments I have right now."

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Ed Reed Talks Pro Bowl

Reed on the Pro Bowl: Being voted to the Pro Bowl isn't anything new for Reed. This is the ninth time he's earned the honor to represent the Ravens for the AFC's all-star squad.

However, Reed would like to see the game moved back to after the Super Bowl like it used to be.

"It was a lot of fun then," Reed said. "I don't like the fact they switched it and now it's before the Super Bowl. It takes away from it."

One of the reasons Reed favored the old approach was that the Super Bowl winner's representatives would be introduced last. This would fuel the competitor in him, as he was forced to watch any particular season's NFL champions receive a great deal of praise for their accomplishment.

"We wanted to be those guys being introduced," Reed said. "That was the thing for all players. If you weren't the last team introduced, you knew it was a respect thing."

Earlier this season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league might drop the Pro Bowl if participants don't improve the level of play in the game. Reed stated the case that it's like the NBA All-Star Game, where players are competing, but in a safer manner to avoid injuries.

"Trust me, it is competitive as it gets," Reed said. "It's like the all-star game for basketball. Those guys go hard but at the same time, you want to protect guys and not have something serious happen over there. I think the fans understand that to some degree. It is a game a lot of points get scored in. Guys understand there's a respect level as players as we play the game. We know what's going on."

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Six proCanes Make the NFL Pro Bowl

Six Miami Hurricanes were among those named to the 2013 Pro Bowl, announced by the National Football League offices Wednesday.

With its six selections, Miami tied Tennessee for the lead among all universities nationwide.

Andre Johnson (Houston Texans) and Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts) were two of the four AFC selections at wide receiver. The veteran proCanes wideouts, who each earned their sixth Pro Bowl nod, have played pivotal roles for their respective teams through Week 16, combining for over 200 catches and 2,700 yards. Johnson ranks first in the conference with 1,457 receiving yards, while Wayne ranks second in the AFC with 102 receptions.

Johnson's teammate Chris Myers earned his second Pro Bowl selection when he was named the AFC's back-up center. The former sixth-round draft pick was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.

Two of the league's best defenders, Baltimore Ravens' safety Ed Reed and New England Patriots' nose tackle Vince Wilfork, were among those selected as starters. Reed earned his ninth trip in 11 professional seasons, while Wilfork was selected to his fifth-career Pro Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers' running back Frank Gore, who recently marked his team-record sixth 1,000-yard season, was the lone proCane NFC selection. The four-time Pro Bowler has rushed for 1,146 yards this season.

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Ravens fear another attempt to suspend Ed Reed

Sunday’s meaningless game for the Ravens at Cincinnati could have significant meaning for one of the team’s players, especially if it means he is prevented from playing.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Ravens currently fear that the NFL will try once again to suspend Reed for an illegal hit on a defenseless player.

Last month, the NFL suspended Ravens safety Ed Reed for his third illegal hit on a defenseless player in four seasons.  On appeal, the punishment was reduced to a $50,000 fine.

This time around, Reed hit Giants receiver Victor Cruz on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Baltimore, drawing a flag.

“I don’t know what’s going to come of it,” Reed said after the game, via the Baltimore Sun.  ”I had the referee whispering in my ear on the second play.  All I like to do is play the game.  I don’t really know what to do with it.  I don’t really know what to do with that.  I thought it was a decent hit.  He got up from it.”

If the league attempts to suspend Reed, the effort would likely come early enough in the week to allow Reed to embark on an expedited appeal process.  If the appeal lingers, Reed could miss a playoff game.

From a financial standpoint, that’s actually better for Reed.  A suspension for the final regular-season game would cost Reed 1/17th of his regular-season salary, which equates to more than $423,000.  If Reed misses a wild-card playoff game, he’d lose only $22,000.

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Video Of Ed Reed And Bryant McKinnie Singing “Silent Night” At A Bar

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Harbaugh says Ed Reed 'did everything he could' to avoid helmet contact with Victor Cruz

Sprinting toward New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in the fourth quarter Sunday, Ravens free safety Ed Reed delivered a shoulder blow high to the upper body.

Part of the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year's shoulder glanced off of Cruz's facemask during the Ravens' 33-14 victory over the defendin Super Bowl champions, triggering a penalty for an illegal hit announced by the official as illegal contact to the helmet and neck area of a defenseless receiver.

As a repeat offender who had a one-game suspension overturned by NFL hearing officer and Ted Cottrell prior to the San Diego Chargers game earlier this season and replaced with a $50,000 fine,  Reed has now had four incidents in the past three years and could face punishment from the NFL. The Ravens are hoping that any potential punishment from the league office won't go beyond a fine and that Reed won't face a suspension.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday afternoon that Reed and other players are in a difficult position under the NFL rulebook due to the speed of the game, also noting that wide receiver Torrey Smith was penalized for an illegal block where he appeared to make contact with his shoulder to the chest of a Giants defender.

"It's tough, full-speed, the whole thing," Harbaugh said at his weekly press conference at the Ravens' training complex. "I hope the league really takes a look at this in the offseason and figures out a way to help the players out a little bit.

"It's been a real challenge so far this year. Ed was trying to do everything he could. I could say the same thing about Torrey on the block back, it was chest high. Our guys are really trying to do the right thing and it's difficult at full speed to do that."

Harbaugh noted that typically the NFL informs teams and players of any punishment later in the week.

If Reed is suspended without pay, it  would cost him an entire game check of $423,529. This hit could fall into a grey area in how it's interpreted under the NFL rulebook.

"I don't know," Reed said Sunday when asked if he thinks he'll be punished by the league office. "I don't know what's going to come of it. I had the referee whispering in my ear on the second play.

"All I like to do is play the game. I don't really know what to do with it. I don't really know what to do with that. I thought it was a decent hit. He got up from it."

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Ed Reed embarrassed, blames flu for getting hurdled

Slamming his helmet to the ground and kicking it was only the beginning of the frustration for Ravens safety Ed Reed.

After playing poorly and watching his team get handled by the Broncos yesterday, Reed admitted shame for all involved.

“I felt like it was Christmas and not for our side,” Reed said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “We were in a giving mood. . . . We didn’t play football. I was embarrassed. I am embarrassed as a player to come out and perform the way we have. As a Ravens nation, as a player, I am embarrassed for our city.”

Reed himself has plenty to be ashamed of. An apparent miscommunication with cornerback Cary Williams led to an easy touchdown by Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, and at another point, Reed was hurdled by running back Knowshon Moreno.

“I was not expecting him to jump, honestly,” Reed said. “I couldn’t react because I was dealing with a lot of sickness early in the game. I just wasn’t all the way into it, honestly. I was dealing with flu symptoms and everything. I just kind of watched him jump over me.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all. I thought he was was ready to put his head down. I saw him gathering himself, so I was like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to jump.’”
Likewise, there was little expectation that the Ravens would clinch their playoff berth while losing three straight games, and looking bad in the process.

“It hits you in your heart when you lose three straight and you had an opportunity to close our your division the last three weeks,” Reed said. “It’s terrible. It’s what all you guys have been saying about us right now. Regardless of us not listening to it or not worrying about it, it’s just been the truth. We’ve just acted on it to come out and lose today.”

Reed can blame the flu if he wants, but the reality is the Ravens defense doesn’t intimidate anyone any longer, not as short-handed as they are. And with an offense that’s no help whatsoever, they’re on the verge of becoming a non-factor.

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'I am embarrassed for our city,' Ed Reed says after Ravens' loss to Broncos

The mounting frustrations of a third consecutive loss were on display during and after the Ravens' 34-17 defeat to the Denver Broncos.

That included Ravens Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed slamming his helmet to the ground after he and cornerback Cary Williams allowed a touchdown pass to Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker. Then, Reed booted his helmet soccer-style with the helmet accidentally hitting someone on the sidelines.

During the locker room after the game, Reed was much calmer after donning a conservative three-piece suit.

Reed wasn't done venting, though, about the Ravens' subpar play as they allowed Peyton Manning and company to pile up 350 yards of total offense and 21 first downs.

"I felt like it was Christmas and not for our side," the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year said. "We were in a giving mood. ... We didn't play football. I was embarrassed. I am embarrassed as a player to come out and perform the way we have. As a Ravens nation, as a player, I am embarrassed for our city."

The Ravens have lost three consecutive games, but could still qualify for the postseason.

"You still have a lot of football left to be played, a lot of corrections we could make, and we have to make them," Reed said. "If we don't make them, then it won't be a concern. It will be us at home in January during the playoffs, somewhere I know we don't want to be.

"It hits you in your heart when you lose three straight and you had an opportunity to close our your division the last three weeks. It's terrible. It's what all you guys have been saying about us right now. Regardless of us not listening to it or not worrying about it, it's just been the truth. We've just acted on it to come out and lose today."

Reed said he has friends on the Broncos' roster, but wasn't in a mood to exchange greetings afterward.

"I know a bunch of guys over there and I didn't shake hands today," Reed said. "I was just hurting as a player for mistakes that we made."

Besides being beaten by Decker on a double-move for the score, Reed got hurdled by Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno.

"I was not expecting him to jump, honestly," Reed said. "I couldn't react because I was dealing with a lot of sickness early in the game. I just wasn't all the way into it, honestly. I was dealing with flu symptoms and everything. I just kind of watched him jump over me.

"I wasn't expecting that at all. I thought he was was ready to put his head down. I saw him gathering himself, so I was like, 'There's no way he's going to jump.'

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Manning: Ed Reed still is best safety in football

Like Peyton Manning, Ravens safety Ed Reed isn’t getting any younger.

And despite his age, he is to be reckoned with. Reed, that is.

"I thought you said he was one of the best safeties, and I was going to correct you," Manning, 36, quarterback of the Denver Broncos who play at Baltimore on Sunday. "He is the best safety in the league and has been really for this past decade."

Reed, 34, is in his 11th season. Manning has rebounded from neck surgery that kept him out for all of 2011 and has led the Broncos (10-3) to an AFC West title by throwing for 30 touchdowns, just 10 interceptions and 3,812 yards.

Reed has played through torn cartilage in his shoulder as far back as Week 3. He has had trouble wrapping up runners to make tackles but he still makes can make plays.

In the first game of the season, Reed intercepted Andy Dalton and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown in that 44-13 rout. That return made him No. 1 in NFL history for return yards. Reed has 4 interceptions pushing him to 61 for his career. He also has 3 fumble recoveries, one at the goal line of a 9-6 win at the Kansas City Chiefs that kept the Ravens from losing their lead. 

"(He has) unbelievable ball skills, unbelievable range, great hands," said Manning, who has been intercepted 4 times by Reed. "You can tell what kind of athlete he is by what he’s done once he’s got the ball in his hands -- returning (turnovers) for touchdowns. (He’s a) smart player. The list goes on and on."
Manning has led the Broncos to an eight-game winning streak, last losing 31-21 to the New England Patriots in Week 5.

The way the Broncos are playing certainly looks familiar.

"It sort of looks like Indy over there to me," said Reed of the Colts with Manning who went 7-1 vs. Baltimore since 2002. "You see Peyton on the sideline, he’s coaching everybody. That’s no different from when he was in Indy. So, I don’t see too much of a difference. I really don’t."

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Peyton Manning praises Ed Reed, Ray Lewis of Ravens defense

The record says Peyton Manning knows how to beat the Baltimore Ravens. Still, it's clear the Broncos quarterback holds the Ravens defense in high regard.
Wednesday afternoon, Manning called Ed Reed the best safety of the last decade, praised the passion and intensity of linebacker Ray Lewis and said the Broncos face a major chore Sunday in Baltimore.

"They are an extremely tough team to play at home," Manning said. "They have had some injuries, like all teams do, but I know they have that next-man-up mentality. Defensively, they create a lot of turnovers and are extremely tough to score touchdowns against once you get in the red zone."

The Broncos are 0-5 against the Ravens in Baltimore, but Manning is 8-2 against the Ravens in his career and 4-2 in the six times he has faced the Ravens in Baltimore, including 1-0 in playoff games.

Regarding Reed, Manning said: "Ed Reed, in my opinion, is the best safety in the NFL and has been for this past decade. I could go on and on. He's got tremendous ball skills, tremendous range and (he is) a tremendous athlete."

Lewis, the longtime inspirational leader of the Ravens' defense, remains on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a surgically repaired right triceps. Lewis' status for Sunday's game remains a question mark.

"Ray's a tremendous player with a tremendous passion and that has not changed a bit since I first played against him in 1998," Manning said. "That's pretty impressive for a guy in his 17th year."

The Broncos are in pursuit of the AFC's No. 2 seed in the playoffs, but Manning said the Broncos (10-3) are not making too much of Sunday's game against the Ravens (9-4).

"It's the next game," he said. "I think we have done a good job of placing importance on every team we have played. We have focused on the moment. Certainly, Baltimore is a very easy team to grab your attention, especially when you are playing there."

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Ed Reed: Stopping RGIII from running is ‘like telling Superman not to fly’

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed said that a number of elements factor into the success that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has enjoyed as a rookie. Reed also believes that containing Griffin in the ground game could be nearly impossible.

Griffin ranks among the league leaders in quarterback rating and accuracy. He has thrown 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and rushed for another six touchdowns. He owns the NFL rookie record for rushing yards by a quarterback.

“He’s a playmaker and an athlete. He has all the attributes of a quarterback to get the ball to his receivers and also to scramble with that running ability,” Reed said Wednesday in a  conference call.

Reed, an 11th-year veteran and future Hall of Famer, leads the Ravens with four interceptions this season. Asked what he sees in Griffin that has enabled the quarterback to minimize his turnovers, Reed credited Griffin’s mental makeup and the Redskins’ offense.

“He’s pretty precise on getting rid of the ball. [And] he seems to have guys open, that’s the key to it really,” Reed said. “You see him throwing to guys that don’t have tight coverage on them. He’s throwing to open guys for the most part. And when he does throw the ball to guys that are covered, you can see that they’re accurate. He’s an accurate quarterback. And he’s a decision maker. To run the option and those plays, you have to be a good decision maker. … He still has a lot to learn, obviously, but the offensive scheme that they’re running, it helps him out a lot.”

Reed said the Ravens must work to ensure that Griffin doesn’t beat them with his legs, but admitted that isn’t exactly an easy task.

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Defensive player to watch: S Ed Reed

How he beats you: One of the best safeties in the game, Reed remains an impact player despite playing in his 11th season at the age of 34. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder has great athleticism to go along with impressive instincts, ball-hawking skills and play-making ability. He has 61 career interceptions and leads Baltimore with four this season.

“Some guys, I think, are born to be football players. I think Ed is that type of guy,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “… He is a guy who I think is in the film room every day. He knows what is going to happen before it happens. Usually the great players are not only great athletes but great students of the game. And he is a guy that I think is very well prepared and he knows what is going to happen before it happens, which is why he has so many picks.”

How to stop him: Because Reed has seen virtually every passing formation, it will be hard to fool him, but offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will likely draw up pass routes to take Reed away from the ball. Robert Griffin III must continue his precision passing and sharp recognition of what the defense is doing, and can’t let Reed fool him.

“I’m going to be aware of where he’s at. Like I said, it’s nothing to fear. But he covers a lot of ground. He does a lot of unconventional things. You’ve just got to be aware of where he’s at just like he’s got to be aware of where I am and [running back] Alfred [Morris] and everyone else.”

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Ed Reed: Accuracy A Big Reason For Robert Griffin III’s Passing Success

ASHBURN – Ed Reed has intercepted 61 passes in his 10-plus seasons, the most in the NFL since he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens out of Miami in 2002. Four of those interceptions have come this season, including one he returned for 34 yards against Pittsburgh last Sunday.

He’ll face a different challenge this weekend when he faces the Washington Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has thrown only four interceptions against his 17 touchdown passes during his rookie year.

“I mean, he’s pretty precise [when] he’s getting rid of the ball,” Reed said. “He seems to have guys open. I mean, that’s the key to it, really. You see him throwing the ball to guys that don’t have guys on them – tight coverage, I should say. He’s throwing to open guys, you know? I mean, for the most part.

“And when he does throw to guys that are covered, he’s putting the ball there accurate. He’s an accurate quarterback and a good decision-maker, and to be running the option and making plays the way he’s made plays, you have to be a good decision-maker.”

Griffin ranks sixth in the NFL with a completion percentage of 67.1 and his quarterback rating is third at 104.4. He is tied with New England’s Tom Brady and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger for the fewest interceptions thrown amongst quarterbacks with at least nine starts.

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proCane Players of Week 13

Offensive Player of the Week:

Greg Olsen: Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen who only had one catch on the day was a big one as Olsen's 47-yard score, which tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, was the second-longest play of his career, and his best since a 52-yard reception in 2008. Olsen ranks second on the team with 50 catches and 636 yards. He is one of two proCane tight ends with more than 600 receiving yards on the season, joining New Orleans Saints' Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham (654). Olsen this week set a new career high with 636 yard receiving this season.

Honorable Mention: Reggie Wayne: proCane Colts WR Reggie Wayne was held to four catches for 51 yards in the Colts' Week 13 win over the Lions but Wayne extended his NFL record 60 games streak of having 3 or more receptions. Wayne is on pace for 117 catches, 1,541 yards and four touchdowns heading into a matchup with the Titans in Week 14.

Co-Defensive Players of Week:

Ed Reed: proCane Ravens safety Ed Reedplayed a role in two Ravens turnovers, including a key interception in the endzone off Steelers' quarterback Charlie Batch to preserve a late fourth-quarter lead. Reed increased his lead in all-time interception return yardage to 1,541 on the play, returning to Baltimore's 34-yard line. The interception, the 61st of his career, solidified the Reed’s position at No. 10 all-time in the category. Reed also recovered a fumble in the third quarter, the 10th recovery of his career.

Brandon Harris: proCane Houston Texans second-year cornerback was expected to play a key role in Sunday's game against Tennessee - and he delivered. Seeing an increased role due to injuries to usual starters in the secondary, Harris led the team with six tackles. Harris, who drew widespread praise for his performance, was also credited with two pass defenses. Harris will continue to play a key role for the Texans defense as injuries have taken a toll on their secondary.

Honorable Mention: Darryl Sharpton.

Special Teams Player of the Week:

Matt Bosher:
proCane Falcons P Matt Bosher continued his great 2nd season and firmly planted himself among the better punters in the league. His performance against the Saints may have been one of the best games of his career. His punting average of 53.2 yards was a career high and his six punts tied a season high. Of those punts four were returned but credit the coverage teams for limiting the Saints to a 15-yard return average. The Saints average starting drive position was their own 25-yard line. Bosher's 47.9 punting average this season is ranked ninth in the league. His 15 fair catches on punts is tied for fourth in the NFL.

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Ed Reed sees right through the NFL's drivel about safety

Safety first.

The NFL has explained ad nauseam that is why the rules have changed so much that we sometimes wonder if the players should just wear flags.

Safety, the league claims, is why it handed a one-game suspension to Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, who ultimately won his appeal for an illegal hit against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago.

Reed, though, sees right through the NFL's bovine excrement it continues to spew. And after yet another grueling 60 minutes against the arch-rival Steelers on Sunday, Reed was preaching.

"All of a sudden, the NFL is starting to get sued for all the stuff they haven't protected over the years, and they haven't done ... now you want to take it out on us?" Reed said, via Sports Illustrated. "Take it out on yourself. It's easy for them to do the things they're doing, fining us and make us look bad, like we're the bad guy, when we're not.

"If they were really so concerned about the violence and the injuries, players getting hurt, answer this question for me: Why is there Thursday Night Football? We played three games in 17 days. Why is there Thursday Night Football? Come on, man."

Thursday Night Football on NFL Network exists for one reason and one reason only: money. Its very existence highlights a giant flaw in the league's "safety first" mantra. If safety was such a concern for the league, Roger Goodell would never allow his players to play on three days of rest.

Reed understands this, and I, for one, commend him for telling it like it is.

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Ed Reed says rules affecting play

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed offered a pointed critique of the NFL on Sunday night, specifically about the way the league has been policing its defensive players.

Speaking after the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Reed said the NFL is turning into "powder puff" football and compared commissioner Roger Goodell to a president who doesn't have to answer to Congress and simply can pass whatever laws he pleases.

Reed had his recent one-game suspension for a series of illegal hits overturned on appeal, but the eight-time All Pro feels like the changes in the game are affecting the way he plays.

"It sucks, man," Reed said. "It sucks really bad. It affects me, man. I thought about it coming into this game, cause obviously it happened the last time we played."

Three weeks ago, when the Ravens and Steelers met at Heinz Field, Reed was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The NFL, saying it was taking into account Reed's history as a repeat offender under the league's "defenseless player" policy, said it was suspending him for Baltimore's game against the San Diego Chargers the following week, a decision that would have cost Reed $423,529.

Reed and the NFL Players Association appealed the league's decision, and arbiter Ted Cotrell overturned the suspension and reduced it to a $50,000 fine.
Reed, however, remains angry about the incident. In fact, he went so far as to say he feels like he was being punished for declining when the NFL asked him for a favor, although he wasn't specific about what he was asked to do.

"I feel like (the NFL) was trying to make an example out of a couple of things that happened a week before," Reed said. "I didn't want to do something for the NFL. A little bug told me there was something in the air about that, that they kind of had it out for me. That's bad. I was like, 'If you're not going to support me as a player in your league, in our league, why would you think I was going to come back and wear something on my shoulder pads to support you when you're just fining us?' "

Reed's not the only player to criticize the NFL and Goodell this season. Several Steelers have expressed frustration over what they perceive as Goodell abusing his power under the new collective bargaining agreement. Reed said Sunday he believes the league is trying to promote "powder puff" football.

"It's definitely changing the game," Reed said. "It's become an offensive league. They want more points. They want the physical play out of it, kind of. They want like powder puff to where you can just run around and score points cause that's going to attract the fans. I understand you want to make money, but bending the rules and making the game different, you know, it's only going to make the game worse."

Even though Reed won his appeal, he said he feels as though there aren't enough checks and balances in the system. He compared Goodell to a president who doesn't have to answer to Congress or an opposing party, and simply can pass whatever laws he pleases. Reed also hinted the league is only trying to protect itself against lawsuits.

"All of the sudden the NFL is about to be sued for all the stuff that they haven't protected over the years and they haven't done," Reed said. "Now you want to take it out on us? Nah, take it out on yourself. It's easy for them to do the things they're doing, fining us and make us look bad, like we're the bad guy, when we're not."

Reed said he feels particularly let down by Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president, who helped make the initial decision to fine and suspend him.

"That was crazy for the wording they were using, like malicious," Reed said. "I'm a malicious player. Ray Anderson talking about how I'm a dirty player. After 11 years now I'm a dirty? Serious man? ... It's definitely hurting the game, but they don't care so much about it cause they're going to continue to make their money. If they was really so concerned about the violence and the injuries and players getting hurt, answer this question for me: Why is there 'Thursday Night Football?' We played three games in 17 days (earlier this season)? Why?"

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VIDEO: Sean Taylor Tribute, Reed, Moss, Portis, Rolle Reflect

It was five years ago today that Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died after a shooting at his home. Taylor's death was one of the most shocking and affecting in recent sports history, and the memory of it still resonates strongly and emotionally with Taylor's fans, friends and former teammates. This video tribute includes insights from former college and professional teammates Antrel Rolle, Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss as well as Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who smiles as he remembers Portis badgering him to draft Taylor.

I remember hearing of Taylor's death, of course. I was a baseball writer at the time, but anyone who followed sports even tangentially heard the story, and no one could get their arms around it in a way that made any sense. Five years later, as I heard today from fans, watched the video and read the columns by those who were covering the story at the time, it's clear that Taylor's death is still affecting a large number of people.

Rolle talks about how he still watches Taylor highlights on YouTube. Cooley remembers how grateful he was that Taylor never practiced his trademark big hits against him in practice. And Moss breaks down in tears remembering the way the news affected him. If you're a Redskins fan, I know the loss of Taylor is a wound on your heart that still hasn't healed. I invite you to share your memories and your feelings about him in the comments section of this post.

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VIDEO: Ray Lewis, Ed Reed & W. McGahee Pay Tribute To Sean Taylor

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Art Jones Responds To Ed Reed's Challenge

Art Jones got called over by future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed in practice last Wednesday.

Reed told Jones that he had seen flashes of his potential on film, but he wanted to see more.

“I challenge you,” Reed said, as recounted by Jones. “I need you to dominate from here on out. I need you to step up.”

Jones took the words to heart and recorded his best career game Sunday in San Diego.

After not recording a sack in his first 26 career games, the 2010 fifth-round pick notched sacks on back-to-back defensive series in the third quarter. He had five total tackles, including three for loss.

Jones beat Chargers guard/center Rex Hadnot, who stepped in for usual starting left guard Tyronne Green, on both sacks.

On the first, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs swam inside, which collapsed the left side of the Chargers offensive line. Jones blew past Hadnot, bended around the corner and wrapped up San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers at the ankles.

On the second sack, Jones simply just outmanned Hadnot off the line. It was a standard four-man rush and Jones burst past Hadnot’s right shoulder, which led him directly to Rivers. The sack came on a key third-and-5 that led to a punt.

“I’ve got to give credit to my coach, Clarence Brooks,” Jones said. “Every single day he told me if I trusted my assignment, alignment technique that I couldn’t be blocked. I believed in it and I think [Sunday] it worked out for me.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh has noticed an improvement in Jones’ fundamentals as well.

“I’ve just seen in the last three, four weeks, he’s taken a huge leap technique-wise,” Harbaugh said. “His feet and his hands are tied together way better now than they were, and that’s a credit to Clarence Brooks, and to Arthur in just deciding that he wanted to play with great technique.

“It’s really heartening for a coach to see a guy playing that well and to make the strides that he’s made. And it’s huge for our defense.”

Jones came to the Ravens as a somewhat raw product out of Syracuse. He saw action in just two games as a rookie as he worked on slimming and toning his body.

Jones was on the field for 14 regular-season games last season, but was mostly in a reserve role behind defensive end Cory Redding. He shared snaps with Pernell McPhee, a fellow fifth-round pick who broke out with six sacks. Jones, meanwhile, logged 20 tackles last year and no sacks.

Asked for an evaluation of his career to this point, Jones was brutally honest.

“Mediocre,” he said. “I’ve been showing flashes. But I know I can be a great player and can play in this league a long time if I stay healthy. I’ve just got to keep working, keep trying to get better.”

With Redding now in Indianapolis and McPhee still dealing with thigh and knee injuries that have forced him out of the past four games, Jones has been the Ravens’ starter.

He’s been getting coaching from Suggs, whose locker is right next to Jones. While the two have very different bodies (Jones is 6-foot-3, 315 pounds and Suggs is 6-3, 260), Suggs has worked with Jones on his pass-rush technique.

“Art’s been working really hard,” Suggs said. “It was a big day for him. I’m proud of him.”

While Jones credited Suggs, Brooks and God for his big day, it came back to Reed’s motivational words last week.

“Any time a great player challenges you like that, you want to respond,” Jones said. “To play with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, these great guys, I’m living the dream, man. This is a dream come true and I don’t want to disappoint my family or anyone else.”

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Ed Reed not happy with $50K fine

Ed Reed is thankful that his one-game suspension for his hit on the Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday was overturned on appeal, but the Baltimore Ravens' star safety isn't happy that he still has to pay a $50,000 fine.

"It really needs to be discussed for a fine to come down like that so harshly for that hit," Reed, who was handing out turkeys with some teammates at a middle school in Baltimore, said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

He particularly wasn't happy he might be viewed by some now as a dirty player after the league tried to suspend him, alleging a past pattern on illegal hits.

"Over my career and for them to go back to 2010 for me scratching Drew Brees on the head, even the one that happened in Week 2 with Michael Vick, c'mon, man. I'm going for the ball. It's a contact sport," he told reporters, according to the newspaper. "It's a lot that needs to be done with it, man. I'm just glad I can play with my teammates. I'm not happy with the 50 grand, but what can you do?"

He called it a "shame it even came to this point."

Reed was suspended for one game without pay on Monday by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players.

Reed appealed the ruling in a phone session Tuesday morning with NFL hearing officer Ted Cottrell. The NFL Players Association represented Reed, who also participated. Cottrell lifted the suspension but still fined Reed, as he determined Reed's "actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline."

Reed lamented that the NFL is trying to change the way football is played, although he acknowledged that "a lot needs to be done because it is about safety.

"At the same time, we grew up watching the game be played a certain way and playing it a certain way. It is tackle football. It is a contact sport and a brutal one, a violent one at that, the No. 1 violent sport, sad to say," he told reporters.

"I know concussions has been a big thing. I've had concussions before, and I know guys are going to have concussions. If you want to stop it, stop the game. Like people say, it's starting to be a flag football thing. I have a flag football tournament. We can make this a big thing if we want to, everybody can come get in my league."

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Ed Reed wins appeal, avoids suspension

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed avoided a one-game suspension for late hits after an appeal. He instead will be fined $50,000.

Reed was suspended for one game without pay on Monday by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. The third violation occurred in Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh: Reed’s hit to the head of receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Reed appealed the ruling in phone session Tuesday morning with NFL hearing officer Ted Cottrell. The NFL Players Association represented Reed, who also participated.

Hours later, Cottrell reduced the penalty.

In a letter to Reed, Cottrell wrote: “I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline. However, I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a one-game suspension without pay. Player safety is the league’s primary concern in the formation of playing rules and all players are expected to adhere to those rules or face disciplinary action. I hope in the future you will focus on ensuring that your play conforms to the rules.”

Reed will be in uniform for Sunday’s game in San Diego.

“The league has an appeal process to review situations like this, and Ed had his opportunity to answer questions about his play,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “I think John (Harbaugh) and his coaches do an excellent job of teaching the right, safe and legal way to play football, and we believe Ed clearly tries to play within the rules on every down.”

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Ed Reed Appeals One-Game NFL Suspension for Illegal Hits

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed appealed a one-game suspension from the National Football League for repeated violations of a rule banning hits to the head and neck of defenseless opponents.

The sanction would cost Reed, who was due to make $7.2 million this year, about $450,000 in salary and force him to miss the Ravens’ Nov. 25 game at the San Diego Chargers.

“Ed has told us that he’s going to appeal the suspension right away,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at a news conference yesterday. “So we should know something very soon. If we don’t have Ed, that’s a blow.”

Reed’s blow to the head of Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders two days ago was his third such hit in three seasons, the NFL said in a news release. Reed received a penalty for unnecessary roughness on the play, which occurred during the third quarter of the Ravens’ 13-10 victory.

Reed also received a $21,000 fine and an unnecessary roughness penalty following a September hit on New England Patriots receiver Deion Branch, and a $10,000 fine for roughing the passer after an unnecessary blow to the head of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in 2010.

“None of those were with intent to injure or to harm in any way,” Harbaugh said. “Ed respects the game. He respects his fellow players. After the New England one, he and Branch, they knew right away, and they were hugging each other. He’s got tremendous respect for the game, and we stand behind him.”

Reed is the second player suspended this season for violating safety rules. Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays received a one-game ban for a hit on Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in September.

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PHOTO: Ed Reed Throws Up "The U" on Sunday Night Football


Thank you to Tommy Covelli @tommycovelli for sending us this photo of Ed Reed on Sunday Night Football.

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Ed Reed apologizes for bad day in blowout win

Even after a 35-point blowout, some Ravens players aren’t satisfied.

In fact, veteran safety Ed Reed apologized, via Twitter, for his play in the 55-20 win over the Raiders. His missed tackle, which led to a 55-yard touchdown by Darrius Heyward-Bey, helped keep the margin under 40.

“Just had a bad day,” Reed tweeted. “Not perfect, though we try!”

“That’s the thing about Ed he’s a great player,” coach John Harbaugh said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “He’s definitely his own worst critic, his own strongest critic. He has a really high standard for how he’s going to play ,and I’m sure that’s reflected in his comments. I thought he played well. Ed sets a high bar, and he usually reaches it.”

Reed also suffered a stinger in his right shoulder during the game and didn’t finish, though that could have been a call-the-dogs off move like not playing Haloti Ngata, who was given the day off to rest from injuries. Harbaugh said he talked to Reed about coming out, and Reed said it was his call to not continue.

“These guys have a lot of pride,” Harbaugh said. “These are some of the most competitive men and athletes in the world, and that’s how that conversation goes sometime in a game like that. That’s the way that one went.”

There will be days when the Ravens need them much more, coming up soon, so letting them watch a blowout was the right call, by whomever made it.

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Do the Ravens need to worry about Ed Reed?

The only major concern coming from the Ravens' 55-20 win over the Raiders was the play of Ed Reed.

The Pro Bowl safety's missed tackle led to Darrius Heyward-Bey's 55-yard touchdown. Another Raiders touchdown -- a 30-yard pass to Denarius Moore -- came when the receiver split Reed and cornerback Corey Graham.

Even though Reed grabbed his injured shoulder after failing to wrap up Heyward-Bey, what was more disturbing was Reed's comments after the game. Asked whether it was coach John Harbaugh's decision to pull him from the game before the fourth quarter, Reed said, "I was having a pretty bad game as an individual, and I really didn’t want to go back out there as a competitor playing the way I was playing today."

You have to admire Reed's blunt assessment of his play. But it's a strange statement coming from a future Hall of Fame player. Most competitors want to redeem themselves and will fight to stay in games. If you're a Ravens fan, you have to be worried about the fact that he was playing so poorly that he didn't want to go back into the game. As I've written before, Reed shouldn't play if the injury is going to make him a liability in the secondary.

The Ravens, though, desperately need Reed to step up and not bow out. This defense is already without its leader (Ray Lewis) and best cornerback (Lardarius Webb). Plus, one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL (Haloti Ngata) didn't play one snap Sunday because he isn't at full strength. There were questions about Reed's commitment to football when he skipped all of the spring workouts, including the mandatory minicamp.

The shoulder injury has affected Reed's ability to tackle for most of the season. But it shouldn't affect missed assignments. There were a handful of times when it seemed like cornerbacks were expecting deep help from Reed and he was trailing on the play. Reed addressed his play to fans on Twitter.

“Thanks for support! I'm good for next week. Just had a bad day. Not perfect, though we try!”

Just like last week, Reed will be limited in practice all week. But he should be available for Sunday night's game at Pittsburgh.

“I’m fine," Reed said about holding his shoulder after the missed tackle. "It was just a minor stinger, not very serious.”

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Curious comments from Ed Reed after Ravens' win

The strangest post-game comments Sunday came from Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed. He had a poor game against the Raiders and hasn't played well this season. He is in the final year of his contract, and was pulled from the game Sunday after three quarters because of a "stinger" in his shoulder.

"Yeah, the game was, we thought, out of reach," Reed said when asked if it was a coach's decision to leave the game early. "The offense was playing well and I was having a pretty bad game as an individual and I really didn't want to go back out there as a competitor playing the way I was playing today. But we've got guys that can step up, step in, and needed to get those reps and see what others guys can do."

I'm not totally sure about the context of the statement, but it's hard to understand how a player of Reed's caliber openly discusses not really wanting to go back out there. Maybe Reed needs to clear up his comments, because it leaves a lot open for personal interpretation.

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Ed Reed upgraded to limited participation

Ravens free safety Ed Reed rejoined his teammates at practice Thursday as he was upgraded to limited participation after sitting out the previous day.

While Reed deals with a knee injury and a torn labrum in his shoulder, four other starters were sidelined for the second consecutive day.

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Ravens miss Ed Reed and others at practice

Five starters didn't practice Wednesday for the Ravens, including three Pro Bowl selections in free safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and offensive guard Marshal Yanda.

Plus, offensive guard Bobbie Williams and defensive end Pernell McPhee were sidelined at practice.

Reed is listed with a torn labrum in his shoulder as well as a knee injury.

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Ed Reed adds reporter to list of responsibilities

Every week, the opposing team makes available a player to be interviewed by Baltimore media via conference call. On Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was the interview participant.

Towards the end of the conference call, Ravens free safetyicon1 Ed Reed made his way through the media room at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills. After finding out from public relations coordinator Tom Valente that Thomas was on the phone, Reed jumped in.

“Hey, Joe, how you doing? This is Ed Reed,” he said.

“Good. Hey, good. How’s it going?” Thomas said with a laugh.

“How’s the weather in Cleveland?” Reed asked.

“Oh man, I haven’t had power since Monday,” Thomas replied. “I can’t wait to go homeicon1 and see what’s going. Maybe they’ll have my electricity turned on.”
“The hurricane came through there, man?” Reed asked.

“Dude, it’s been crazy,” Thomas said. “I can’t believe it. They said that New York, New Jersey and Cleveland were, like, the hardest-hit areas from this hurricane. I can’t believe we got messed up this bad by a hurricane.”

“Well, that’s crazy, man,” Reed said. “I hope everything is well, man.”

“Alright, thanks,” Thomas said.

Sounds like Reed could be lining a future gig as a member of the media like former Ravens Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and Trent Dilfer.

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Ed Reed on NFL fining Ravens $20,000: 'They're taking away from football'

Standing in the locker room today, Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed laughed when asked if he would kick in to help the Ravens pay a $20,000 fine for failing to list him on the injury report with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

And then the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year unloaded on the league for punishing the Ravens, saying it doesn't make sense to him considering he didn't miss any practice time or snaps in games.

However, the NFL told The Baltimore Sun that any injury to a significant player has to be listed.

"It wasn't a serious injury that should have been reported because I wasn't out," Reed said. "That goes to show you about the integrity of the game and how it's changed and how they're making more decisions and fining us and taking away from football, so to say. They're taking money and fining you for small stuff. Anything possible they can fine for you that takes away from them, the NFL, and we are the ones who really are the NFL, the players. I don't even know how to answer this question."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is expected to increase the amount of players he lists on the injury report going forward to comply with the NFL rulebook.
The Ravens are the third team to be fined this season for not following the injury reporting guidelines. The Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins were previously fined $20,000 for not listing defensive end Mario Williams and quarterback Robert Griffin III, respectively.

"I didn't miss any games or any practice," Reed said. "How can you fine somebody for something like that when nothing is being missed? As years go by and I'm out of the league, I'm sure that this will be brought more to people's attention, how we get treated as players, and it's not right. The CBA and the NFLPA should have probably negotiated this stuff better. They have to have a way to get their money back. It's crazy that we get fined the way we do."

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Ravens fined $20,000 for not reporting Ed Reed injury

The Ravens failed to disclose an injury to safety Ed Reed, and now they’re paying for it.

The NFL confirmed today that it has fined the Ravens $20,000 for not listing Reed’s shoulder injury on their injury reports. When Reed revealed publicly that he had a shoulder injury, it was the first anyone knew about it, and although Ravens coach John Harbaugh said plenty of guys have injuries like Reed’s and they’re just the nature of the NFL, the rule in the NFL is that every injury has to be disclosed.

“The Ravens failed to list safety Ed Reed on the injury report for a labrum tear in his shoulder,” the league said in a statement. “Reed publicly acknowledged the injury on October 17 prior to Week 7 games and said it could be affecting his play. Although Reed fully participated in practices and games after sustaining the injury, he should have been listed on the report with a shoulder injury and fully participating in practice.

“The Injury Report Policy states that, ‘All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.’”

But while the Ravens have been busted by the league, a $20,000 fine is not much of a deterrent to an NFL team. This fine is the going rate for these violations — it’s the same fine the Redskins got for not immediately disclosing that Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion, and the same fine the Bills got for not disclosing Mario Williams‘ wrist injury — but for a billion-dollar business it’s basically a slap on the wrist.

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John Harbaugh defends decision to not put Ed Reed on injury reports

Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn't feel he or the organization he works for has violated any rules when it comes to not placing Ed Reed on any recent injury reports.

Last Wednesday, Reed revealed he had a torn labrum in his shoulder. The revelation caused a minor stir considering it was not publicly known he was dealing with that kind of injury.

The NFL decided to look into the matter and is reviewing Ravens' practice and game tapes to see how much Reed has been practicing.

"What they'll find with Ed is that he's practiced 100 percent of the time and he hasn't missed any game time with the injury," Harbaugh said. "Our understanding of the rule has been if they don't miss any time at all according to the injury then it doesn't have to be on the injury report."

On Friday, Harbaugh said 25 to 30 players are dealing with minor injuries but have been able to fully participate in practice. Rather than place all of them on the injury report, the Ravens have kept their daily lists to a minimum. For Sunday's game against the Texans, the Ravens listed five total players on the injury report while Houston listed 15.

This would explain why Baltimore appeared healthier than it probably has been, especially before Ray Lewis (triceps) and Lardarius Webb (ACL) sustained season-ending injuries.

The NFL has cracked down on injury report violators recently. The league fined Washington and Buffalo $20,000 each for not being as forthcoming as it would have liked -- the Redskins for not disclosing a Robert Griffin III concussion and the Bills for not mentioning Mario Williams had a wrist injury.

Harbaugh said he didn't believe the Ravens had done anything wrong but that the franchise will adhere to whatever the NFL decides.

"I'm very confident that we understand that rule as well as anyone in the league," Harbaugh said. "We've kept the injury report very tight. We've kept it to the guys who have to be on the injury report. Not that we're trying to hide any injuries, but we could do what some other teams do and put a bunch of guys on there. And I'm just as happy to do that. We could put all the guys on the injury report. If they'd rather us do that, we'll do that. Whatever they tell us do, we'll do. We're trying to follow the rules."

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Ed Reed: Lots of injuries go unreported in NFL

People are getting a little cavalier with this whole injury report thing. Whereas New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick had quarterback Tom Brady listed every week, these teams have simply left guys off.

The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins were fined $20,000 each Friday for failing to report injuries. The Bills didn't list Mario Williams, who was receiving treatment on his wrist. The Redskins announced quarterback Robert Griffin III was "shaken up" and questionable to return against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 7. He should have been declared out with a concussion.

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed recently admitted that he's been playing with a torn labrum. The NFL has launched an official inquiry because Reed has been missing from the Ravens' injury reports. Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday explained that some 25 to 30 players each week have small injuries that they practice and play through.

"I don't know why it doesn't go on (the injury report)," Reed told the Baltimore Sun. "I'm sure a lot of guys have been through this league and had injuries and it's not reported. That's the physical part of the game and a part of the game that the fans and y'all don't (know) anything about. That's the part that we have to deal with from a workers' compensation situation, so to say. That's stuff that will be taken care of.

"I'm physically all right, but it is what it is on that."

It's hard to see a scenario in which the Ravens aren't fined, especially in the wake of Reed's admission and the fines imposed on the Bills and Redskins. Teams and players try to hide injuries -- that's no surprise. They might have gotten away with it if Reed hadn't talked about it in the interview.

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Ed Reed downplays rib injury

Ravens star free safety Ed Reed landed awkwardly on top of a Houston Texans player's foot in the fourth quarter, suffering a rib contusion.

However, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year returned to play Sunday in the Ravens' 43-13 loss to the Texans at Reliant Stadium.

Afterward, Reed downplayed the severity of the injury.

"It was my rib and kidney, I think they said I took a cleat," Reed said. "It felt like I fell on a shoe or something. It's just really sore right now. It hurt like heck when I was out there.

"I just hoped nothing was broken and I didn't feel like anything was broken.  It just kind of cut my wind a little bit, but I'll be all right."

Reed didn't appear to have trouble with the torn labrum in his shoulder that he complained of last week and hasn't been listed on the Ravens' official injury report, causing the NFL to look into the matter.

Reed had six tackles against the Texans

Ravens coach John Harbaugh had a similar take on the injury, saying: "It looked like a rib contusion kind of a deal, but I haven't heard the finaly say on that."

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Ed Reed challenges Ravens' opponents: 'Throw at me'

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed acknowledged Wednesday that a torn labrum in his shoulder is "maybe" affecting his play.

The five-time All-Pro is being counted on to support a Baltimore defense that lost linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb this week to injuries. Reed insists the setback with his shoulder won't keep him off the field.

"I'm not a pitcher, man," Reed told the Ravens' official website, saying the shoulder is nothing to worry about.

Baltimore's defense has been picked at by opponents this season. It's not the purple fortress it once was, and anchoring it with a banged-up, aging safety can't work forever. Reed's answer?

"Throw at me," he said, a proposition that hasn't worked well for teams over the first 10 years of his career. He doesn't expect that to change in his 11th.

UPDATE: The Ravens didn't list Reed on their Thursday injury report, the first one released since he revealed his ailment.

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Ed Reed is now downplaying injury

Is this shoulder injury limiting what Ed Reed can do on the field? It seems like Reed doesn't know.

This is what Reed told a Baltimore radio station last night: “Is it affecting my game? Maybe."

This is what the Pro Bowl safety told reporters Thursday: "[It's] not anything to worry about. I'm not a pitcher, I can still tackle. I ain't drop no bombshell, man. It's all right."

Reed did reveal Thursday that he injured his shoulder before the Patriots game in Week 3. That's the game where Reed had his most physical game of the season. He broke up a pass in the end zone on a powerful hit.

So why was Reed so bad at tackling against the Cowboys on Sunday? Maybe the better question is why Reed wasn't listed on the Ravens' injury report for the past couple of weeks.

"I don't know why. I'm sure a lot of guys in this league have had injuries and they're not reported," Reed said. "That's part of the game that fans and y'all don't know nothing about. We have to deal with workman comp situations."

Toward the end of last season, Reed acknowledged that he missed a tackle in four straight games because he was playing injured. That was leading up to the playoff game at Houston. Reed then made a critical interception against the Texans.

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Ed Reed playing with labrum tear in shoulder

Ravens S Ed Reed is playing through pain, saying he has a small labrum tear in his shoulder.

Reed revealed his injury Wednesday night on Baltimore radio station 105.7 The Fan. Reed's no stranger to playing through pain, having played the past few seasons with a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder.

Reed, who practiced Wednesday and wasn't listed on the Ravens' injury report, said he'll play through the pain. A normal labrum tear can take about six weeks to heal, possibly longer. Tackling can become an issue with the injury if Reed leads with the afflicted shoulder.

Reed tweaked his hamstring after returning an interception for a touchdown in the season opener against Cincinnati. That's also an injury that has slightly lingered for Reed, though it hasn't seemed to be much of a problem in recent weeks.

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If Ed Reed is hurt, he should take a seat

Another day, another Ravens Pro Bowl defender reveals an injury. Safety Ed Reed said that he has a torn labrum in his shoulder during an interview with a Baltimore radio station.

There's one problem: The Ravens didn't list him on the injury report, which is a violation of league rules. So either the Ravens chose not to disclose the injury or Reed isn't really that hurt.

If Reed does have a significant shoulder injury, he should sit and take time to get healthy. A torn labrum could take around six weeks to heal. Not everyone will agree with this because of the current state of the Ravens defense. Injuries have already sidelined Baltimore's best player on defense (Terrell Suggs), its leader on defense (Ray Lewis) and its best cornerback (Lardarius Webb). It seems like the Ravens would need Reed more now than ever.

But the Ravens need a healthy Reed. They need an aggressive Reed. They need the Reed who was physical against the Patriots when he broke up a touchdown pass in the end zone with a hit.

Reed wasn't that player on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. There were times Sunday when Reed tried to push players out of bounds instead of tackling them, which allowed the Cowboys to pick up extra yards. He finished with three tackles, no interceptions and no passes broken up.

If Reed chooses to continue playing, he can't be as ineffective as he was last Sunday. The Ravens need all 11 players swarming to the ball when they play the Texans, the sixth-best run offense in the league.

Losing Reed would be another big hit to the Ravens defense. But Reed playing at this level leaves the defense just as vulnerable.

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Ed Reed still shines on field while taking on bigger leadership role in locker room

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens safety Ed Reed has taken on more of a leadership role and Baltimore’s eager youngsters are reaping the benefits of his advice.

In the span of 15 minutes Wednesday, Reed schooled Christian Thompson in the fine art of beanbag throwing — thrashing the rookie safety in a game of cornhole — before advising another teammate about the virtues of signing up for a 401K.

More notably, Reed has become a tireless teacher on the topics of film study and keeping a body fit during a long NFL season. Reed knows quite a bit about both, given that he’s tallied 59 interceptions, scored 14 touchdowns and missed only 22 games over an 11-year career.

Reed turned 34 on Sept. 11, yet the eight-time Pro Bowl star isn’t showing his age. Not one bit.

“He’s playing as well or better than I’ve seen him in the last couple years,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I just think the world of how he’s playing and how he’s leading. He’s been leading us in the meeting room, locker room, training room.”

Reed aspires to be a coach after he retires from the NFL, and it appears as if he’s already getting a jump on his next profession.

“This year more than ever,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “All the other years, he would teach us a little something here and there, but this year, it’s 110 percent. He is teaching us everything that he can possibly know, and I am happy for it.”

Reed is the voice of experience within a secondary that includes the 26-year-old Webb, 24-year-old Jimmy Smith and Thompson, 22.

“I think when you get to the latter part of your (career), you really begin to realize what it’s all about,” Reed said. “I’ve always had an open-door policy to these guys to come to my house, watch tape together or just give them information. We have a lot of young guys, and this business can take a toll on you if you let it. You just try to give them as much information as possible, whether it’s on or off the field.”

When it comes to preparation, Reed could lead by example to prove a point. He’s been bothered by a neck injury since 2009 and is currently monitoring a knee sprain, yet this season he’s registered 18 tackles, picked off two passes and put his name in the NFL record book for career yardage on interception returns (1,506).

Before facing the Ravens last month, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, “He’s pretty much ingrained permanently in my mind. He’s such a playmaker for them, and he shows up in a lot of different spots.”

The work Reed does in the training room helps him prepare to play from one Sunday to the next.

“I just work closely with my doctor on the recovery part of it,” he said. “For me to be 34, I’m bouncing back great right now. I’m doing all the things that help the body recover. A lot of guys don’t know about that. I try to help a lot of guys in the locker room, inform them about taking care of their body. You can be doing insane workouts and all that, but if you’re not recovering and rehabbing, you’re working backward.”

Looking ahead, Reed hopes to turn his passion for football into a coaching job.

“Right now it’s just high school because I want to be around my son,” he said. “I’d love to coach at this level at some point or maybe even college because I feel like you can get the kids while they’re young and still give them information. I’m not sure right now, honestly. I want to coach somewhere around my son because he’s growing up and I want to (make up for) the time that I’ve lost from my family.”

Before then, Reed wants to get a Super Bowl ring. The Ravens (3-1) face the Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) this Sunday, hoping to remain atop the AFC North. Between now and then, it’s a good bet Reed will be poring over film with other members of the Baltimore secondary.

“Because he wants to make sure we are together,” Webb said. “If we study film together, we are on point together.”

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Respect for Ed Reed from those who know

The Cowboys have a veteran and a younger player starting at the safeties, and they both express a lot of respect for the man who has been the pre-eminent player at the position for most of his career, the Ravens' Ed Reed.

Danny McCray, in his third NFL season, views Reed -- whom he'll see up close when the Ravens and Cowboys play Sunday -- as the prototype.

“When I was coming up, it was like, you mention safety and you hear Sean Taylor and you hear Ed Reed,” McCray told dallascowboys.com. “He lived up to everything that everybody said about him: always around the ball, great player, smart player. You model your game around anybody, it’s Ed Reed.”

The Cowboys' other safety, Gerald Sensabaugh, is playing in his eighth season, having entered the NFL three years after Reed's rookie season in 2002.

“Probably the biggest playmaker I’ve seen since I’ve been in [the league],” Sensabaugh said. “He’s able to get a lot of turnovers, able to get to the football all kinds of ways, playing the deep middle or just playing different coverages. He’s a turnover machine. He’s always good for eight-plus picks, and that’s a goal I’ve tried to reach.”

As players whose job it is to be around the ball, they recognize how Reed makes his instincts pay off.

“His awareness and knowing where the ball is going to be and then finishing the play,” McCray said. “You see a lot of good players that can get to the ball, but they can’t finish the play. He knows where the ball is going and when it’s in the air he goes and gets it.”

And then there is the thing that Ravens fans have seen so often -- how Reed seems to appear from nowhere.

"He knows exactly where the quarterback is going," Sensabaugh said, "and he knows how to hide so the quarterback won’t be able to see him then he capitalizes."

But Reed never hides for long.

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Ed Reed visits Booker T. Washington Middle despite not feeling well

Initially scheduled to host a Fitness Day for the third consecutive year this morning at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore, Ravens star free safety Ed Reed didn't arrive until this afternoon because he wasn't feeling well, according to his charitable foundation.

The Fitness Day has been postponed until a later undetermined date. Reed's foundation informed the school via an email early this morning that he wouldn't be able to take part in the Ftness Day scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"Ed Reed and his Foundation have spent three hours this afternoon at Booker. T. Washington privately with the children going from classroom to classroom," Reed's foundation said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun. "Unfortunately, Ed was under the weather this morning and Fitness Day was postponed. We will hold Fitness Day in the weeks to come at Booker T."

Reed and several of his teammates are promoting fitness for youngsters through various programs this month.

Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo took part in a Play 60 Challenge today at Windsor Middle School in Baltimore along with Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe.

Today at M&T Bank Stadium, Ravens team president Dick Cass will address area youth at "The Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling Fit Clinic with tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta leading fitness drills.

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Ed Reed disagrees with fine, says NFL is 'changing the game'

Ed Reed once again spoke out against the NFL, this time in reference to its decision to fine him $21,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Patriots receiver Deion Branch.

Reed has appealed the fine, which came after Baltimore's 31-30 win over New England in Week 3.

"They're changing the game," Reed said. "You don't see the NHL changing the game. They're letting those guys play. You obviously need to police the injuries as far as head shots and stuff like that. But some stuff is just a given. I didn't think my [play] was that bad. I had a lot of people saying it was legal."

Reed hit Branch in the helmet late in the third quarter, drawing a personal foul.

Reed said he shook hands with Branch and told him he didn't intend to hit him as high as he did. But he said he's still unsure why the NFL, which has made a point in recent years to fine players who make contact with an opposing player's head or neck regardless of intent, levied this fine against him.

"It seemed to me it looked like [Branch] dropped down," Reed said. "What do you do? He's dropping down, who's wrong there, him or me? It's just a tough situation."

Reed, the coach: Reed appears to be preparing for life after football already.

On Tuesday, the veteran safety said he has plans to become a high school football coach when his NFL days are over. If he has it his way, he'll coach his son once he's ready to play as a freshman in high school.

"I've come to know that I want to coach," Reed said. "I love helping kids. I have my camp (in Owings Mills, Md.), I have my camp in Louisiana. I was always around that. Coaching is in me. It's part of why I study the film the way I do."

Part of Reed's motivation is to make up for lost time spent on his football career. But once his son, who turned 4 in April, finishes high school, Reed said he wouldn't be opposed to coaching at a higher rank.

"Right now it's just high school because I want to be around my son," Reed said. "I'd love to coach at [the NFL] level at some point, or maybe college. I feel like you can get the kids when they're young and still give them information. I'm not sure now, but I want to coach somewhere around my son because he's growing up and I don't want to lose the time that I've lost with my family, being in college and being in the league."

With his son plenty of years away from high school, his potential coaching career isn't a sign he's ready to hang up the cleats. Reed is in the final year of his contract and has previously stated he thinks he has more years left in him to play.

"We, as football athletes, we beat down on our bodies so much," Reed said. "Me, being 34, I'm bouncing back great right now. I'm doing all the things to help the body recover."

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Coach Harbaugh lauds Reed's high level of play, work as leader

OWINGS MILLS — He had interceptions in each of the Baltimore Ravens’ first two games, nine tackles in last week’s win against the New England Patriots and three pass deflections in Thursday’s victory against the Cleveland Browns.

Ravens safety Ed Reed has still been productive in recent seasons, even while battling a nerve impingement in his neck that has made him a more tentative tackler, but Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Reed’s play through the first four games of this season is the best he’s seen from the safety in several years.

“He’s playing as well as I’ve seen him play since im’08, and he’s played really well all those years,” Harbaugh said. “He’s playing as well or better than I’ve seen him in the last couple of years.”

Harbaugh also praised Reed for his work as a leader among an otherwise young group of defensive backs.

“I just think the world of how he’s playing and how he’s leading,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been leading us in the meeting room, locker room, training room. He’s just been a great leader.”

Earlier in the day, cornerback Lardarius Webb said Reed is serving as a teacher for the other defensive backs “more than ever.”

An 11-year NFL veteran, the 34-year-old Reed has 59 career interceptions, the most among active players.

“He is into that [play]book,” Webb said. “He is making sure we know exactly what we are doing so we can go 110 percent. He is in it this year. All the other years, he would teach us a little something here and there, but this year it’s all 110 percent. He is teaching us everything that he can possibly know, and I am happy for it.”

Reed has 18 tackles and leads the Ravens in both interceptions (2) and pass deflections (7).

But it’s the job he’s done as a teacher that Webb says has been even more valuable.

“Ed is playing great on the field, but he’s better, right now, at his preparation, getting us prepared,” Webb said. “He is teaching us some things that we’ve never learned before about film watching, studying the other team. He is Hall of Fame at that right now. That’s what he is showing us — how to prepare for these guys. We just have our ears open and are trying to learn from the greatness.”


Ed Reed Fined $21,000 For Hit On Deion Branch

BOSTON (CBS) — Ravens safety Ed Reed has been fined $21,000 by the NFL for hitting a defenseless player in the head/neck area on Sunday night.

Reed drew the suspension for his hit on Deion Branch in the third quarter Sunday in the Ravens’ game against the Patriots. Branch came ran his route and broke toward the middle of the field. A split-second after catching the ball, Reed lowered his head and delivered a heavy hit on Branch. Branch did appear to duck as he braced for impact.

Branch dropped the pass, but Reed was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Branch shook hands with Reed shortly after the play and stayed in the game.

Reed also delivered a hard hit to Julian Edelman in the end zone earlier in the same game, but was not flagged or penalized for that hit.

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Ed Reed: 'We don't get treated the way we want to get treated' by NFL

When Ravens safety Ed Reed wants to make a point, he's going to make it.

And with the regular referees returning Thursday night, Reed voiced his opinion again.

Reed again took issue with the NFL and how it treats its employees, saying there are a lot of unseen issues that take place behind the scenes. When asked about the officials reaching an eight-year deal and returning to the playing field, Reed unleashed new material for the powers that be in the NFL, and here it is in its entirety:

“We don't get treated the way we want to get treated. When we speak out and say the things that we should say, or the truth that we speak, we get criticized. It is what it is. I'm glad those guys got back on the field, and got what they deserved. People are going to be people. They're going to judge you the way they judge you. You guys are going to write what you want to write.

"You're going to say Ed Reed is whining but I'm the one out there playing my heart out and not getting what I deserve. I know the business and you don't see the work that we put into it. You don't know the investment that we put into our bodies. You don't know how we get treated and talked to. You don't know the behind the scenes of what those referees were going through being locked out.

“But we think that regular old Joe, division two and division three guys can come in here and do a good job. There was a lot of pressure on those guys, and I commend them, that they came in and did what they did. Not every call is going to be a great call, even the guys that were out there today didn't make every call. It's good to see those guys back out there. I shook a bunch of hands tonight and had a lot of jokes. It felt good having those guys out there again just talking to us.”

Point made and point taken.

Reed and Ray Lewis both walked up to head referee Gene Steratore during pregame warmups, welcoming him back to the NFL playing field.

“I think they understood how much we were fighting for them as players and how much we really respected their jobs and what they do,” Lewis said. “So I think having the guys back there was more real conversation between each other. Whether the calls were good or bad, you were really able to relate what was going on.”

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Ed Reed says Thursday Night Football 'all about money'

Ed Reed's never been one to shy away from publicly disagreeing with the NFL.

With the Ravens playing this Thursday night, which will make it four games in 17 days, Reed voiced his displeasure with the NFL's Thursday night showcase, especially since it's now every week of the season and not just after Thanksgiving.

"I never liked the Thursday night games, even when they came out," Reed said. "It's all about money. Like I said, it's out of our hands."

Reed was also critical of the league in reference to Monday night's Seattle-Green Bay game, which saw the Seahawks win 14-12 thanks to a controversial touchdown.

Again, Reed disapproves of how the NFL is handling this situation.

"We all saw that (Packers CB M.D. Jennings) had the ball," Reed said. "They should've called pass interference. But that's what's been going on with these refs. It's an integrity part of the game, that they expect the players to uphold and protect the shield, so to say. But they don't protect the shield when it comes to owners and everybody else getting the money."

A lot of Ravens players are catching up on rest, having played a game past midnight Sunday night and then immediately began studying for Thursday's contest. Coach John Harbaugh said he only got two hours of sleep after Sunday night's win over New England. Meanwhile, safety Bernard Pollard he didn't fall asleep until 5 a.m.

Linebacker Jameel McClain insinuated the short week's schedule makes it hard for the players to physically prepare for these games on such short notice.

"There are a lot of tired players," McClain said. "But the other team is tired too. We have to do our job to get it done. But it doesn't make the most sense to me."

Not every Ravens player is opposed to Thursday night games, however.

"I tell you what, it's a really crazy turnaround, it really is," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "It's quick to play on Sunday and then on Thursday. But I kind of like them. It gives us a short week, and it forces you to do the things you're good at and play a football game."

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Ed Reed Puts A Big Hit on Deion Branch

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Ed Reed: You can't do anything but have much respect for Bill Belichick

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick‘s glowing admiration of Ed Reed is universally acknowledged and accepted in the pro football world.

Turns out, the future Hall of Fame free safety feels just about the same way about the Patriots head coach.

“I mean he’s a winner for one,” Reed said. “I had an opportunity to talk to Coach Belichick a couple times and had him over there at the Pro Bowl. Just watching ‘A Football Life’ with Coach Belichick you can’t do anything but have much respect for Coach Belichick and the way he runs things. His background and the discipline and focus that he asks of guys and what he allows you to do as a football player; he honestly understands your athletic ability.

“If you look at Coach Belichick and the way he coaches his team and the guys that play for him and the positions that they play, he allows football players to be football players. Coach understands that this is a short-lived career and not everybody is going to have those five and 10 and 15-year careers. A bunch of guys are great athletes and they can come on and make a name on his team and find themselves somewhere else with a starting job. You see a lot of guys playing out of position when you’re watching the Patriots play.”

When you watch the Ravens play – especially on defense – the focal point is still inside linebacker Ray Lewis, the star of this week’s “A Football Life” series on the NFL Network.

“Ray’s great to me,” Reed said Wednesday. “I know a lot about him and how he approaches his family and his work ethic and how much he cares and loves his kids. It’s going to be eye-opening to everybody, especially what Ray has been through over the course of his life and through football. I think it’s going to be a great deal that can open a bunch of eyes. Ray has a lot of talent and not just in football, on the field. He’s a great dad. He’s a Hall of Fame dad. He does a lot of things off the field. There are a lot of the things off the field he aspires to do also.”

As for Sunday night, Reed and Lewis do not have to worry about Aaron Hernandez the way they did last year in the AFC championship game.

“That’s one less person to throw to but they will send somebody in and get somebody else some more catches,” Reed said. “Somebody has to step up. It’s a professional league. Hernandez is probably not playing after that high ankle sprain. And being that it’s so early in the season, you’d much rather have a guy like that going for it and not hurting himself worse. But we’ll prepare for it either way. Like I said, somebody else will get a bunch more balls, I’m sure. There won’t be all this talk about Wes [Wes Welker] and all these other guys who are not getting catches so somebody has to step up right now. Hernandez is a great tight end.

“I see Wes catching the ball probably not as much but probably because they are throwing the ball to other guys who are open. It’s a long season and you do things in a certain way preparing for the weeks to come. I wouldn’t read too much into it. Wes Welker’s still a great receiver and I’m sure New England, [Tom] Brady and everybody knows that. It’s just that people probably want to make news of something that’s probably not something big in the organization. If it is, then that’s something they have to deal with.”

Reed was asked if he still feels like the Ravens outplayed the Patriots and really won the AFC championship.

“No, we lost, man. We lost by three points,” Reed said of the 23-20 outcome that sent the Patriots to Indianapolis. “Yes, we had the chance to make some plays but I’m sure Brady, who he is, and the other guys over there feel like they left some plays out there. One play that sticks out in my head from that first drive is when Brady overthrew [Rob] Gronkowski. So I’m sure they have some plays that they left out there also. It was a great game and they came out on top.
Does it still bother him today that the game slipped away?

“No, not at all. That was last year like I said,” Reed said. “They only crowned one champ last year, if I’m not mistaken. It’s behind us, like I said. We’re a totally different team this year. We don’t even have some of the same guys on the team. It’s always a new year the next year. I know I’m not worried about what happened last year. It was over and done with after that game.”

What is it about these Patriots-Ravens games that makes them so intense?

“It’s just two great teams that love to play football; a lot of great competition,” Reed said. “We just go at each other. That’s what you want. You want to see the best going against the best – offense, defense and special teams. That’s what you get in these games.”

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Ed Reed can still get it done

The late, great George Carlin once urged his audiences to "pay attention to the language we've all agreed on." I couldn't concur more. For instance, the difference between being a "veteran" and just being "old". Ed Reed personifies that difference.

Old guys don't make plays on a constant basis like Reed does. Reed doesn't live in the end zone, but he does have a long-term lease there. Thanks to the pick six he recorded against Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, Reed has now scored at least one touchdown in eight of his 11 NFL seasons. He's hit double-digits in passes defensed in seven of his previous 10 seasons and looks well on his way to hitting that plateau again with a pair of swatted passes in Week 1.

Old guys can't fight through injuries the way Reed does. Tweaked hamstring be damned, the man from "The U" just keeps getting it done. Even at football's ripe old age of 34, he keeps proving that you just can't pick on him.

It's a quality that Baltimore Ravens fans (and football fans in general) have learned to admire. It's also one that Baltimore will rely on heavily with Terrell Suggs and his sack prowess out of the lineup for an indefinite period of time. By the way, Reed is good for the occasional sack and could pick up a few this season if defensive coordinator Dean Pees decides to blitz more from the secondary.

Eventually the day will come when Reed stops consistently making plays. Eventually he'll be a step too slow and those picks won't be there. Eventually he'll stop having his mail sent to the opposing end zone. When that day comes, we can start referring to Ed Reed as "old". Until then, respect this man as the seasoned veteran he is.

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Despite injuring hamstring Monday, Reed practices on limited basis

Ravens safety Ed Reed, who said that he hurt his hamstring during his 34-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, returned to practice today on a limited basis ahead of Sunday's contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reed said following the game that he strained his hamstring, but he didn't believe it to be serious.

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Ed Reed sets interception return record as Ravens dominate Bengals

After an offseason in which he suggested that he might be ready to quit playing football, Ed Reed has returned to the Ravens and shown he has plenty of good football left in him — while also showing that he’s the greatest interception returner the game has ever seen.

Reed intercepted an Andy Dalton pass and returned it 34 yards late in the third quarter of the Ravens’ 44-13 win over the Bengals, a play that both put the game away for Baltimore and also gave Reed a new NFL record of 1,497 career interception return yards. Reed has averaged 25.8 yards a return on his 58 career interceptions, and he also owns the NFL record for the highest interception return average for players with at least 30 career interceptions. Reed later left the game with a hamstring injury; it’s not clear whether the injury was serious or whether the Ravens just took Reed out because the game was in the bag.

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Lewis and Reed still lead Ravens defense

BALTIMORE — They’re not getting older. They’re getting better.

Well, maybe Ray Lewis and Ed Reed aren’t getting better, but they’re still dominating players.

Lewis and Reed remain the emotional hub of the Baltimore Ravens defense.

At 36, Lewis took his offseason training to a new level, losing weight and looking even leaner.

Reed, who turns 34 on Tuesday, teased the Ravens with his familiar retirement talk, but in the end came back.

On Monday night, Lewis had 11 unassisted tackles, assisted on three others and delivered a key sack.

“When we step on the football field, we’re a totally different breed,” Lewis said.

Reed set an NFL record for yards on interceptions and had his first touchdown in nearly three years.

“I wasn’t going to let the [offensive] linemen catch me,” Reed joked. “So, I just dove. It strained my hamstring trying to dive. I’m going to be 34 in two hours. Father Time does catch up with you.”

Reed admitted that he was tired after chasing Cincinnati’s receivers.

“I think I ran about four miles today,” Reed said.

On Sunday night, Lewis spoke to the team.

“Take advantage of the opportunity,” he told them.

Reed remembered. He missed two possible interceptions before he ran back his seventh career touchdown.

“It’s about making those plays. I’ve been doing that basically my whole career,” Reed said.

Reed gets to watch the Ravens’ no-huddle offense and it helped him prepare when the Bengals threw one at them.

“We’ve been preparing for that for a long time. It’s a matter of us clicking at the same time,” Reed.

There were some hiccups. Twice in the first half, they had to take time out for too many men on the field and once were penalized for it.

“The biggest thing is communication, and we know it’s something we have to work on,” Reed said. “We’re just getting started on this journey. We know what we need to get better on.”

The Ravens missed Terrell Suggs, who tore his right Achilles tendon. Suggs, on the physically unable to perform list, stood on the sidelines wearing a black Ravens baseball cap on backward, pacing and talking with teammates and coaches.

“I think people think we’re going to have a tougher time without Terrell Suggs,” Haloti Ngata said. “But we’ve been working hard all training camp to create pressure and get to the quarterback.”

Ngata had two of the four Baltimore sacks.

Instead of Suggs, there was Paul Kruger with rookie Courtney Upshaw backing him up.

“Can you replace a Terrell Suggs? Absolutely not,” Lewis said. “Can you get a young Paul Kruger playing better? Can you get a younger Upshaw to pick up the level of his play? Absolutely. That’s what we did tonight. For our sake, keep adding those pieces, adding those pieces.”

When the Bengals’ BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a six-yard rush just before the end of the half, Suggs put the cap on straight, stood behind coach John Harbaugh and yelled along with the coach.

“We didn’t play perfectly as a defense,” Lewis said.

Maybe it was a sign that the Ravens chose to introduce their offense first on Monday night.

Instead of the Lewis dance for the emotional season opener, the defense was relegated to second string. The attention that was usually the defenses’ was on the new no-huddle offense.

“We’re a totally different team right now than we were last year or the year before that. I think we have the guys who understand that. We know what we’re trying to get done,” Lewis said.

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Ray Lewis, Ed Reed enter the twilight of their careers working toward another playoff run


Shannon Sharpe remembers vividly the late-night conversations in his kitchen with a 25-year-old Ray Lewis.

It was 2000, and the young linebacker was staying with his new Ravens teammate in Sharpe's Atlanta home as he endured a murder trial that could have cost him his career and freedom. Even during those most trying times, Sharpe noted, the young man steered conversation to his future, to greatness. Not excellence, which Lewis had already achieved, but lasting, stamp-on-the-game greatness.

"A lot of people talk about wanting to be great," advised Sharpe, then preparing for the 11th season of his own Hall of Fame career. "But you've got to pay the price. You've got to do what other people can't or won't."

When Sharpe, now an NFL analyst for CBS, thinks about why Lewis has endured beyond any reasonable expectation, he thinks of the way Lewis embraced his message.

For Ed Reed, the quest never carried such a grand arc. Oh, the Ravens safety worked like a demon as a young player, going to 6:30 a.m. spring practices at the University of Miami, throwing his body into every game with rare abandon.

"But everything is moment-to-moment with Ed," says his former coach, Brian Billick. "He and Ray share the same passion, but with Ray, there's a calculation. With Ed, it's all on the surface."

Perhaps this explains the ambivalence that has marked the twilight of Reed's career. Where Lewis stated his unequivocal plan to return for a 17th season in the moments after last season's agonizing playoff loss to the New England Patriots, Reed avoided interviews. Instead, he serenaded the locker room with a soul tune by Teddy Pendergrass, emphasizing the portentous line, "I think I better let it go."

He did little to clarify his plans in the offseason, talking one week about playing five more years, then skipping a mandatory minicamp and musing about the comforts of staying home with his young son and watching the NFL season from his couch. Come late July, however, Reed was back to practice, crisscrossing the field to break up passes like a man 10 years his junior.

As Lewis, 37, and Reed, 34, approach the late stages of their all-but-certain Hall of Fame careers, they might appear to be on divergent paths — Lewis' a straight course to Baltimore's sports pantheon, Reed's a more jagged trail of retirement threats and contract gripes. In reality, say teammates and coaches, the most enduring pillars of the Ravens defense are more similar than they are different.

Both begin relentless conditioning regimens just a few weeks after the end of each season. Both bury their heads in game film, looking for any pattern that might set up a miraculous play against next week's opponent. Both see mentoring — Lewis for the world to hear, Reed in more private moments — as essential to their continuing thirst for football.

"If you look up the word 'professional,' it'd be those two guys — the way they prepare, the way they act on the field and in the classroom," says first-year defensive coordinator Dean Pees. "These guys are such high-profile players that you could walk in and expect to see such an ego that nobody can talk to them — but that's the furthest thing from these two guys."

Fourth-year cornerback Lardarius Webb has made a point of studying both men. "Anytime I see Ed walking around the locker room during the season, same as Ray, they always have their playbook in their hands, their film in their hands," Webb says. "I'm like, 'Man, we just got a 10-minute break out of a meeting. Why is he over there at his locker watching film? Why isn't he getting a break like all the rest of us?' It's like they never come off of our opponent."

'He looks younger'

Everyone who cares about the Ravens has already said so, but it's amazing to lay eyes on the trimmer version of Lewis that emerged this summer. It's not just that his body looks more cut; his face is leaner, almost youthful.

"That's the sign of a man who understands the game, that always evolves," says fellow linebacker Jameel McClain. "He came in faster, stronger, slimmer, all of those things. I mean, he looks younger.”

Football analysts have latched on to Lewis' statements about staying relevant in a pass-happy game that demands agility more than brute force. But sitting at his locker after a recent practice, the dean of the Ravens alludes to deeper motivations for his offseason of swimming, biking and sucking down blended concoctions of pure vegetable juice.

"I've had a lot of sick people in my family," he says. "I didn't do it for sports. I did it for lifestyle, just to live longer."

Lewis isn't the first great athlete to be driven by fears of mortality. Mickey Mantle assumed he would die young, like all the other men in his family. So the great New York Yankee drank and caroused, figuring he'd never live to suffer the effects. It's typical of Lewis, say those who know him well, that instead of taking a fatalistic view, he has sought to improve his health.

Even as a young player, Lewis, who has already played longer than any linebacker in the Hall of Fame, demonstrated a rare analytical bent. He watched veteran stars Sharpe and Rod Woodson — their diets, the way they focused on stretching and flexibility as much as strength or speed, their ability to relax completely when a day's work was done.

Sharpe remembers telling Lewis that it wasn't enough to love the games. He had to embrace every practice, every meeting, every bruise and ache. The veteran told Lewis he'd be fooling himself if he didn't train hard enough to wonder, "Why am I doing this? When will it end?"

Billick says he knew Lewis would play at a high level long past the point when most players fade. "He's one of the best-conditioned offseason athletes I've ever been around," the former Ravens coach says. "He has a very specific plan for how to deal with every point of his career."

But Lewis has surprised even Billick, who told his former star two years ago that he had become a liability on passing downs. "When I saw him last year, he looked rejuvenated," says the Fox and NFL Network analyst.

Sharpe and Billick both say Lewis will benefit from his offseason weight loss (he's below 240 pounds, down from about 260 last year).

In his musical, preacher's voice, Lewis says he finds it easier, not harder, to gear up for a season as he gets older. This year, he began two weeks after the season-ending loss in New England, filling his days with five or even seven short, hard workouts. The pounds slid off.

Typical of Lewis, he has preached his methods to teammates. Hulking tackle Bryant McKinnie even tweeted a picture of the vegetable juicer the linebacker recommended.

Lewis has brushed aside all questions of whether this will be his last season. But unlike many athletes, he talks openly about the importance of leaving a legacy. One thing that keeps him going, he says, is meeting new generations of players who grew up watching him. "Hearing that you helped them change their lives," he says, "it's like, 'My God, son, you don't know what that means to me.'"

Some have wondered whether Lewis' pride will ever allow him to walk away from the game willingly. "I believe you always know," he says. "When you go at life as hard as I go at this game, you know when it's over."

'I knew I could still play'

Those who've been around the Ravens a long time talk about two Ed Reeds — one who wraps himself in a hoodie to avoid conversation, another who speaks with rare candor and emotion about the peaks and valleys of a football life.

The unguarded version stops to talk in the hallway of the team's training facility before a recent practice. Reed played in all 16 games last season but intercepted just three passes and at times looked reluctant to throw his injured neck and shoulder into tackles. Two weeks from the 2012 opener, he says he feels better than he has in a few years.

Unlike Lewis, Reed did not spend his first seasons in the league studying older stars for the secrets to longevity. He built his career more by feel, working out with college roommate Reggie Wayne in the early years, then doing it all by himself in future offseasons.

This year, he began workouts almost immediately after the Patriots loss, not wanting his hip, shoulder and neck injuries to worsen with inactivity. He dived into his work with the expectation of returning to the Ravens for an 11th season.

"If I was going to retire, it would have happened right after the season," Reed says, his voice low and slow like the soul singers he's been known to imitate.

But in the next breath, the story of his offseason becomes more complicated. Many mornings, he awoke to an internal debate, weighing the pros and cons of continuing his life's work.

"This is a gift that's been given to you, and if you can do it, and you're in the right mindset to do it, then go do it," Reed says. "If you're not in the right mindset, you tend to question things. And I didn't feel like my mind was here at the time. I didn't feel like I was in a place where football, where I was even thinking about it. I mean, I was thinking about it, but not with that same mentality I was in the past few years of 'I have to do this, I want to do this.' I wasn't there."

He was comfortable at home with his son, with a body that hasn't fully betrayed him, with a career that will surely send him to the Hall of Fame.

Pulling in the other direction were thoughts of chasing an elusive Super Bowl ring and of young teammates such as Webb and McClain, who lean on him for advice.

Reed talked with his father and a few close friends about the fleeting nature of football careers, about honoring the talent he still possesses. "I know there's a fight in me and a love that I have for this game," he says. "And also for a bunch of young guys that I mentor, where I knew I could still play, and I knew I could still help them."

Then there was the matter of his contract, which ends after this season. Did he skip minicamp and make some of his cryptic comments because he was angry about money?

"Was it about me getting a new contract?" he says. "Maybe a little bit. Maybe a little bit. If I want to get a contract, I know how to get a contract. Trust me."

Holding out is a player's only leverage, says Reed, who will make $7.2 million this year, and he finds it hurtful that fans react by dismissing their former heroes as bitter or out of touch.

"I've been nothing but loyal to this city and to this organization when it comes to doing my job," he says. "I've been nothing but loyal to this organization in trying to help my teammates better themselves. So when I chose to put the business in the streets, so to say, it was a problem for some people. And I knew that. I knew you can't please everybody. What I did was not for everybody. It was actually just for me, doing the interview — a question asked of me, and I'm a person who's going to tell it like it is."

Teammates seemed less concerned than anyone, saying they never doubted Reed's commitment. In fact, though Lewis is perceived as the leader of the defense from outside, younger players often describe Reed as the one they seek out for wisdom.

"Ed has been real instrumental in my career, because Ed is actually someone that I really go to," McClain says. "Whatever it is — if it's a coverage aspect, if it's 'What do you think I could have done different in this situation?' Or if it's a home situation, if it's something that's happening with my brother. I have a lot of respect for him."

Billick says he learned to accept Reed's shifting moods and unexpected statements as the price for the safety's equally wild brilliance on the field. It's the same tack the entire organization has taken with him over the years.

Reed replies adamantly when asked if the contract situation or retirement thoughts will nag at him during the season: "No, I'm already in the mindset. I would never have come if I wasn't in the mindset. I would never have reported to camp."

It's hard to get a handle on where Reed stands regarding his future because, as he acknowledges, he answers questions based on the emotions or the physical pain he's feeling at a given moment. Like Lewis, he says he'll know inside when he's finished and that the moment will likely come when he's still good enough to play at a high level.

"I know it ain't far-fetched for me," he says of the end.

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Ed Reed downplays strained hamstring

Ravens star free safety Ed Reed strained his right hamstring during his 34-yard interception return for a touchdown, but it's not regarded as serious.

Reed didn't return to the game after going to locker room for treatment during the Ravens' 44-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.

Afterward, Reed downplayed the severity of the injury. He didn't seem to have trouble walking after the game.

"It strained my hamstring trying to dive," Reed said. "You know I'm 34 in two hours. Father Time does catch up with you. It's good, it's good. It's minor."

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Doubters don't concern Ed Reed

An injury history that includes a nerve impingement in his neck and hip surgery and his back-and-forth commitment to playing for the Ravens this season have encouraged observers to question whether free safety Ed Reed is edging closer to retirement.

The eight-time Pro Bowler did little to silence the critics in the preseason when he made just one tackle. But Reed said his priority is preserving his health, not satisfying the doubters.

“When I make a tackle or make a play and I have a slight pain or something, you’re going to react the way you react,” he said Thursday. “I never came out of a game unless I was truly hurt. Me being on the ground, that’s on me and my mother. That’s not on anybody, no fans. My mom is at home watching that and she’s more worried than anybody – my biggest critics if you want to call them that. She doesn’t want me laying on the ground either. So I can care less what other people think about it. So long as I get up and I have my health and can finish the game and I still get the respect that I’ve earned throughout the league, that’s fine by me, and I’m sure it’s fine by my teammates. The injuries are what they are. When you’ve been playing the game for so long and sports for so long, it can take a toll on your body, and that’s what we’re putting on the line, and that’s what our argument is as players when we’re doing negotiations and stuff like that. This is not the time for that, but it is what it is.”

Reed finished 2011 with just three interceptions, the lowest total for a season in which he played all 16 games in his 11-year career. He did make an interception in an AFC divisional playoff win against the Houston Texans, but that snapped a stretch of six contests without an interception. Earlier, Reed had endured an eight-game drought.

Reed contended that opposing quarterbacks were avoiding him rather than risk potential turnovers. It will be interesting to see whether that pattern changes  this season if quarterbacks sense that they can go after Reed.

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