The best defensive safety in NFL history is how six-time Pro Bowl selected Raven’s outside linebacker Terrell Suggs described Ed Reed.
And there is so much more as Reed’s NFL career came to a close earlier this month.
After four years with Destrehan High School, four years at the University of Miami, 10 years with the Baltimore Ravens and a year split between the Houston Texans and New York Jets, Reed retired with friends and family around him at a Raven’s event.Reed signed a one-day contract on May 7 with Baltimore to officially retire as a member of the Ravens
“It’s been such a blessing to play in the NFL for the last 12 years,” Reed said. “To experience the NFL was a dream growing up.As a kid, watching San Francisco, hoping to one day be like those guys and then to experience the growth that football teaches was truly a dream come true.”
The achievement is something Reed seems to want to pass on by hosting his football camp every summer here in St. Charles Parish.
“Ed doesn’t do this to get his picture in the paper. He just comes down to spend time with the kids,” Robicheaux said.
“He doesn’t just have his name on the camp, but comes down and gives his time and interacts with them. He is from St. Rose so he knows what a lot of these kids are going through and can relate to them and tells them what they need to hear.”
Reed was recruited out of Destrehan by the University of Miami in 1997 and played on the team that won the 2001 National Championship in his senior year.
During his time with the Hurricanes, he became a two-time All-American in 2000 and 2001. He holds the Hurricane record for career interceptions with 21 career interception return yards at 389, and interceptions returned for touchdowns at five.
Reed won the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2001 and led the nation with nine inceptions and three touchdowns to set a new school record. He also was a Big East Champion in the javelin throw as a member of the University of Miami Hurricane’s track and field team.
Reed was drafted in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft and played 10 seasons for the Ravens before signing with the Texans in 2013 and later the Jets.
During his career, he was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and was an All Pro selection eight times.Reed received the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year Award, and is the all-time NFL record holder for interception return yards at 1,590.
In 2012, Reed became a member of the Ravens, an AFC Champion and Super Bowl XLVII Champion with a 34-31 win over his beloved San Francisco 49ers.
NFL records also include longest interception returned for a touchdown, and becoming the first person in NFL history to return an inception, punt, blocked punt and fumble for a touchdown.
Known as a “ball hawk,” Reed had a keen sense of timing, instincts and ability to anticipate where the ball was going even before it left the quarterback’s hand, which earned him the title of one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game.
But more than that, many coaches attribute Reed’s success to his countless hours of study, handling of his responsibilities and knowing his job.
Reed wants the kids of Destrehan High School to understand their everyday jobs, too. “As an individual, grab hold of your responsibilities,” he said. “Go to college. More kids need to go to college. Pick your friends wisely.
Your friends are your environment and part of what makes you who you are. Don’t hang around with the bad kids, and help the kids that are not as physically fortunate as you. I wish I had.
Reed offered sound advice.
“Don’t settle. Life is more than money,” he said. “Life is more than the NFL. You have to be smart to be cool.”
Reed also said helping others is helping yourself.
He believes it’s people like Coach Robicheaux who help these kids become all they can be.
“Coach Robicheaux has been a big part of my maturing process while we’ve been a part of the football camp,” Reed said. “And more kids go to college because of Coach Robe.”