It is rare to have two players in the same sport that are considered at the top rung in their particular position, but that is indeed the case with former Destrehan High School and current Baltimore Ravens All-Pro Ed Reed and former Hahnville High School and LSU All-American safety LaRon Landry.
This past spring the Baltimore Ravens signed Ed Reed to a seven-year contract extension worth $40 million dollars, making him the highest paid safety in the NFL despite him missing six games in 2005 due to a high ankle sprain.
The money given to Reed was not about paying for potential, but all about paying for production and leadership out on the field.
Before the ankle injury, Reed was a two-time Pro-Bowler and in 2004 the former DHS standout was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Despite his new found riches, the money element of pro football has not dimmed Reed’s work ethic or his desire to be the very best safety in pro football.
“Money doesn’t define me,” Reed said. “It never did before and it never will. I am a football player and I go out to do the very best job I can each and every day. When you look around in this league and see players like Tom Brady in New England or a defensive player like Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh, they strive each and every day for perfection. I know it won’t be attained, but if you strive to that level you can uplift your game higher than you ever thought you could.”
Reed says that despite his accomplishments on the field he is always reaching for a higher level of play.
“I still think I have a long way to go and I know opponents are keeping an eye on me more, so that makes me work even harder to find ways to make more big defensive plays. I want to study them and get a better read on them, than they have on me.”
Reed’s goal is to bring the Ravens back to the Super Bowl and he is thrilled to be teamed at the safety posts with another former River Parish protege’, Dawan Landry from Hahnville High School.
“I am all about getting this team back to the Super Bowl,” Reed added. “Getting paid is great, but that money goes away after a period of time, but when you win a Super Bowl you have that moment forever. It would be great to win the Super Bowl and have someone from south Louisiana like Dawan Landry to share it with. Dawan is doing a great job in training camp and in the pre-season and he is going to give up another real physical presence on defense.”
While Ed Reed has made his mark in pro football, LSU’s LaRon Landry is making his mark in the college ranks. Landry is considered college football’s top free safety and he recently was put on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
While Landry seriously thought about coming out early for the 2006 April draft, he is glad to be back in Baton Rouge for his senior season.
“I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I gave it plenty of consideration, but I wasn’t completely healthy due to an ankle injury that happened during the season and I just didn’t like the way it ended in Atlanta against Georgia in the SEC Championship game,” Landry said. “Everyone I talked to said about how much they enjoyed their senior season and I wanted that feeling also. I always wanted to play pro football, but I also wanted to win another SEC championship for LSU and maybe play for another national championship. LSU football is special to me.”
One guy who was thrilled to see Landry return is LSU head coach Les Miles and he says that LaRon is the very best safety in college football.
“LaRon is a superb football player, no doubt about that,” Miles said. “If it is him coming up to make a tackle, or blitzing off the edge, or in pass coverage, he is a playmaker for us. He is tough, smart and he is our enforcer on the field. He works hard and makes everyone else work hard. He’s my first round pick on defense.”
Ed Reed, LaRon Landry and Dawan Landry, what a safety threesome from a small part of south Louisiana and it doesn’t get any better than that.