For eleven years, number 20 patrolled the back of the Ravens defense, striking fear into opposing quarterbacks. Collecting 61 interceptions and returning them for 1,541 yards and 15 touchdowns, Ed Reed more than proved himself as best safety in the NFL. He has put himself into the conversation of best NFL safety of all time.
Nine time Pro Bowler. Eight time All-Pro. Three time NFL interceptions leader. NFL defensive player of the year. Superbowl champion.
NFL record for most career interception return yards. NFL record for longest interception return. NFL record for most career postseason interceptions.
These are the credentials of Ed Reed as a Baltimore Raven.
But Ed Reed is no longer a Baltimore Raven
This past offseason, Reed left his team and fan base that loved him unconditionally for a 3 year $15 million contract with the Houston Texans. He left a fan base that has stood behind him through his entire injury plagued career. It has never been easy being Reed’s fan, and it is about to get harder.
As his career progressed, his ability to tackle digressed. Reed’s greatest asset was his greatest flaw, as his reckless abandon that resulted in so many interceptions also gave up the occasional big play.
But still, the Ravens’ faithful has defiantly stood by him. There was an outcry when the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston conjectured that the Ravens were better off without him and did not want him back. Ed Reed’s saga of signing this offseason took years off of Ravens’ fans’ lives. When the news that he chose Houston broke, a sudden emptiness was felt throughout Baltimore.
Just as injuries have always plagued Ed Reed (the man plays with no respect for his own body), they are still bothering him. Reed has yet to take a snap this season, and it appears his first will be against his former team.
It does not feel right seeing Reed written on a blue and red jersey, and it will only get worse when the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans take the field this weekend. As hurt as Ravens’ fans might be, "REEEEEED" will still be ringing through M&T Bank Stadium, perhaps for the last time.