Former Ravens S Ed Reed officially retires from NFL after 12 seasons
Ed Reed came into the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, and on Thursday he left as one.
Flanked by head coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and team president Dick Cass, the nine-time Pro Bowl safety formally announced his retirement after signing one final contract with the team that drafted him 24th overall in the 2002 draft.
“Home is Baltimore,” said Reed, who will be inducted into the Ravens’ ring of honor Nov. 22 against the St. Louis Rams. “This is home. Baltimore, I love the city. I love this organization. I hope I did more than I was supposed to as a Raven.”
Reed said he’s grateful because few players get a chance to leave the game with their home team.
Reed played 11 seasons in Baltimore before splitting time with Houston and the New York Jets in 2012. He did not play last season.
On signing a one-day contract with the Ravens, Reed said he tried to get three days and maybe one more year out of Newsome, but no luck.
“It’s tough, man. I’m retiring,” Reed said. “I’m not hanging my cleats up yet. I’ll still work out. When Coach [Harbaugh] first saw me, he said ‘You look like you still could go.’ I’m like, ‘Look like I still could go?’”
Reed said he made the decision to hang up his cleats on April 26th. He was reading a book, “Uneven Lies,” about African-Americans in golf, and it spoke to him.
“I just felt it in my spirit,” Reed said. “It just felt right. … I just knew it in my heart of hearts that it was time to come home to retire.”
Newsome said that in 2002, the Ravens tried to move up in the draft to take another player but couldn’t complete the trade and took Reed instead.
Asked whether coaching is in his future, Reed said: “Right now, I’m coaching flag football for 4-year-olds and 7-year-olds. It doesn’t make you want to be a coach.”
When asked to name one play from his career that stuck out most, Reed didn’t even point to a play that he made. It was an interception that former Ravens cornerback Cary Williams made against Tom Brady in the 2012 AFC championship, sealing Reed and the team’s trip to Super Bowl XLVII.
One of Reed’s plays that stuck out most to Head Coach John Harbaugh was an interception the free safety made when he shouldn’t have even been in the same zip code as the ball. Reed had studied film on the Dolphins quarterback and knew where he would throw the ball on that formation in that situation. The next day, Harbaugh asked Reed how in the world he made the pick.
“I was cheering during the game, but when we got back on Monday, I had to ask. ‘What exactly made you get that route?’” Harbaugh said. “He took me through it step-by-step. He taught me football.”
Reed, 36, holds the NFL record for career interception return yards and was voted The Associated Press 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft out of the University of Miami, Reed had 64 interceptions and was used occasionally as a punt returner.
• Reed’s 64 career INTs rank sixth most in NFL history, while his 1,590 INT return yards stand No. 1.
• Produced a Ravens’ franchise-record 61 INTs for 1,541 return yards and 7 TDs.
• Posted an NFL-record 107-yard return TD (vs. Phi. 11/23/08), breaking the previous long of 106, which he set vs. Cle. (11/7/04).
• Reed’s career INT return yard average of 24.8 yards ranks No. 2 in NFL history (min. 30 INTs).
• Scored 14 TDs in his career (including playoffs) and is the only player in NFL history to score return TDs off a punt return, blocked punt, INT and fumble recovery.
• Blocked 4 punts in his career, returning 3 for TDs (tied for an NFL record).
• Produced 12 multi-INT games (13 including playoffs), the most in NFL history.
• Owns 9-career postseason INTs, tying the NFL playoff record shared by Charlie Waters, Bill Simpson & Ronnie Lott.
• Finished his career with 699 total tackles, 6 sacks, 154 passes defensed, 12 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries. (His 661 total tackles as a Raven rank fourth in team history.)
Next stop….Canton. Reed is eligible to be nominated for inducted in 2019. And we think it’s a done deal.