Ravens' Reed ultimate 'center fielder'
What makes Ed Reed such a great safety? Well, maybe his awful skills as a high school QB and his latent desire to play baseball help him excel as the NFL's best 'center fielder.'
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Here is something you didn't know about Ed Reed: He'd like to give baseball a try.And he's serious about it. "I'm a professional player right now," the Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl safety said. "I feel like -- not that I'll be better than [Michael Jordan] -- but with a little practice, I definitely could be effective in the outfield, stealing some bases and pinch-hitting." Here is another little-known tidbit: Reed was an awful quarterback at Destrehan High School in Louisiana. "I threw more interceptions than I caught I had like four interceptions in one game," he said with a deadpan expression.
HOT READ: Ed Reed and other
potential Hall of Famers
- AFC North: Ravens
- AFC North: Steelers
- AFC South: Titans
- AFC West: Chargers
- NFC East: Giants | Eagles
- NFC South: Panthers
- NFC West: Cards
- Scouts: Neutralizing Ed
- Countdown Daily: Breaking down Ed Reed
Which stars among the remaining divisional playoff teams have Hall Of Fame credentials? Our bloggers weigh in.
Away from the field, Reed is thoughtful and intelligent -- he graduated from the University of Miami with a liberal arts degree in three years -- but he also is a very private person. He's what those in the NFL community call a "football player." It describes one who enjoys winning and the competition of the game but not necessarily the publicity that comes with it.Reed is a throwback to a time when game day was the only day that mattered in the NFL. He is not a fan of the incessant sideshow, hype and smack talk that goes on in between games today. Reed's approach would make many old-timers proud. On Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., Reed will be an important player to watch when the sixth-seeded Ravens (12-5) play the top-seeded Titans (13-3) for the right to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Until then, ESPN.com will help you get a better understanding of the five-time Pro Bowler and this season's interception leader.
Who is Ed Reed?
No one covers the gridiron like Reed. Off the field, no one gets Reed to uncover himself.
The playmakerThe Reed everyone knows is the person we see on game day. He is arguably the league's most dominant defensive player with the potential to change games.
Greatest safety ever?Is Reed the greatest safety in NFL history? Let's open the discussion. First, consider the big picture. Reed is a ball-hawking safety with unique coverage skills and responsibilities. He often plays the deep third or deep half of the field, while other all-time greats such as Ronnie Lott physically dominated closer to the line of scrimmage. It's difficult to compare, for instance, Lott's ferocious hitting with Reed's ability to intercept passes from that position. "Every safety has something different that he brings to the table," said Reed, who refuses to partake in the debate. Statistically, the all-time interception leader is longtime Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings safety Paul Krause with 81. He played 16 years. Reed's 43 career interceptions put him at an average of 6.14 per season, compared to Krause's 5.06 per season. At Reed's current pace, he would need a little more than six seasons to surpass Krause's all-time mark. It's certainly possible if Reed, 30, desires to play well into his 30s. Regardless of Reed's future plans, his journey likely will include a trip to the Hall of Fame. Who knows, with a little work, maybe he can make a few basket catches in the major leagues similar to one of his interceptions against the Dolphins this past weekend. "I'd like to give baseball a try, coaching and doing some things in the neighborhoods, helping kids out across the world," Reed said. "It's really no limit. So hopefully in the future sometime I'll be doing that."
AFC North blogger James Walker covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
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2008 NFL Playoffs
The road to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009, began Jan. 3 with the wild-card playoff round. Will the Steelers or Cardinals replace the Giants as champs?
Championship Game results: NFC | AFC
COLUMNS/FEATURES• Wojciechowski: May the bitter team win
• Chadiha: McNabb lets good times roll
• Football Outsiders: Numbers Crunching
• Sunday Countdown: Predictions and more
• Clayton: First and Goal
• Garber: This Philly Story seeks proper ending
• Clayton: Peaking Steelers should advance
• Chadiha: Eagles will soar in desert
• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Football Outsiders: Any Given Sunday
• Football Outsiders: Quick Reads
CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (Jan. 18)
Steelers 23, Ravens 14• Polamalu's INT return secures win
• Playoff page | AFC North blog
Cardinals 32, Eagles 25• Fitzgerald leads Cardinals to first Super Bowl
• Playoff page | NFC West blog ... East
DIVISIONAL ROUND (Jan. 10-11)
Steelers 35, Chargers 24• Walker: The Bus sparks Parker
• Williamson: Bolts need season-long urgency
• Recap: Steelers knock out Chargers
• More | AFC West blog ... AFC North
Ravens 13, Titans 10• Graham: Battered Ravens pass physical
• Kuharsky: Titans failed to answer critics
• Recap: Turnovers doom Titans
• Zoom Gallery
• Fleming: Can anyone stop the Ravens?
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC South
Cardinals 33, Panthers 13• Sando: Desert bloom for Arizona's faithful
• Sando: No denying Cards' makeover
• Yasinskas: Carolina's big plans fall apart
• Recap: Delhomme's 5 INTs doom Panthers
• Zoom Gallery
• More | NFC West blog ... NFC South
Eagles 23, Giants 11• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Mosley: Giants lost to better team
• Recap: Defense smothers Giants
• Zoom gallery
• Chadiha: Eagles' defense hitting stride
• More | NFC East blog
WILD-CARD ROUND (Jan. 3-4)
Ravens 27, Dolphins 9• Wojciechowski: Scary Ravens' D
• Recap: Ravens' defense overpowers Dolphins
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC East
Eagles 26, Vikings 14• Mosley: Eagles' run continues
• Recap: Westbrook, big plays carry Eagles
• More | NFC East blog... NFC North
Cardinals 30, Falcons 24• Sando: Cards' winning identity
• Recap: Strong second half powers Cards
• More | NFC South blog ... NFC West
Chargers 23, Colts 17• Williamson: 5-6 Sproles comes up big
• Recap: Chargers shock Manning, Colts in OT
• More | AFC South blog ... AFC West