On Thursday, Ed Reed officially wrapped up a brilliant NFL career at Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. The Baltimore Ravens defensive back was something special to watch. I remember when the Ravens used the 24th pick of the 2002 NFL Draft to select the Safety out of Miami. A good friend of mine asked, “What do you know about this Ed Reed?” My response was, “Playmaker.”

Little did I know, but the Louisiana native would put together Hall of Fame credentials as a playmaker in 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Reed put together nine Pro-Bowl seasons and was a five-time First-Team All-Pro performer. In addition to that he was named NFL Defensive Player of The Year in 2004 when he led the league with nine interceptions including one he returned 106 yards for a touchdown. He would top that return with a 107-yard return for a touchdown in 2008. Reed would have 64 picks in his career while returning seven for touchdowns.

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Reed made a reputation for big plays not only with interceptions. He recovered 13 fumbles returning two for touchdowns and had a touchdown in 30 punt returns throughout the course of his career with the Ravens.

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As a fan, Ed Reed was my favorite Raven of all-time. He just seemed genuine. Reed didn’t seem to care about the cameras. He was a performer but it was natural. I never got the impression that what I was getting was his on camera persona. I always felt that he would be the same man whether in front of 70,000 plus, or just seven people.

Throughout my career in the local media, I’ve had several encounters with Reed. I even had the pleasure of hosting an event where he was a guest. I was never disappointed. Ed Reed was who I thought he was. He was a man who was extremely talented, but very unassuming. He didn’t want an entourage or fan fair. He loved the game of football and that love came through when he played.

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Ed Reed will someday have a bust in his image in Canton, Ohio. Whether that’s first ballot or not is beyond me. I have no say in that because I’m not in that room. What I do know is, like all of the other success that Reed has seen in his life, being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame won’t change him. Not only did Ed Reed play like a Raven, he represented them very well.