By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, [email protected]
There is no question Ed Reed, the magnificent former Baltimore Ravens Safety, is one of the greatest defensive backs in the history of the NFL. But, he is arguably one of the greatest football players in the league’s history, period; mentioned in the same breath as other all-time great players such as Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen and Lawrence Taylor.
Last weekend, Reed was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He is the third organic Baltimore Raven (Guard, Jonathan Ogden was the first) and second (Middle Linebacker Ray Lewis was inducted last year) in consecutive years.
During his incredible career, Reed set several NFL records and during his prime when running back punts, kickoffs, or interceptions, he seemed almost untackleable.
Reed amassed 1,590 interception return yards, which is the NFL record. He also holds the NFL record for the two longest interception returns, 106 yards in 2004 and 107 in 2008. He has nine postseason interceptions, which is tied for the most with three other players. And he is ranked sixth all-time with 64 regular season interceptions. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was the 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Reed, who is known as a somewhat mercurial personality offered unequivocal words of support, encouragement and love during his induction speech.
“Everyone has their own greatness. Whether you reach your own greatness depends on your environment, your structure, the company you keep and your attitude,” he said. “There will be good and bad, right and wrong. Your reaction of choice, good or bad, has consequences that affect you and those around you. No matter what, encourage those around you and yourself. I stayed encouraged. That guy there [speaking of his bust], no matter what, was focused. He stayed encouraged. There were some hard times; there were a lot of tears, even now,” Reed added.
“I tell you, each one of you, stay encouraged. Encourage each other. Help somebody. We should. We’re supposed to. That’s what being a human is about, leaving this place better than we got it. That’s all it’s about, y’all.”