Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Back-to-Back: Ed Reed deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2019

August 06, 2018 - 10:12 am

By Joe Schiller

Wearing a Super Bowl ring around his neck and smoking a cigar, Ed Reed was cool, calm and collected in attendance for Ray Lewis’ Hall of Fame induction on Saturday night.

Not only was Reed supporting his life-long teammate with the Ravens, but he was also setting the groundwork for his eventual Hall of Fame induction next year. Lewis undoubtedly set the defensive tone in Baltimore that still holds true today but his defensive counterpart also played a major role in the Ravens’ success.  

Reed – a five-time first-team All-Pro safety – is a no-brainer first-ballot inductee even among a star-studded group including Isaac Bruce, Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey and Steve Atwater.

When the discussion of the NFL’s all-time greatest safeties comes around, Reed is always included. His stat-line alone provides all the evidence needed. In 174 career games, Reed totaled 64 interceptions, 141 passes defended, 11 forced fumbles and 531 tackles. He also racked up nine Pro Bowls and was named 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Reed was known as a “ball hawk” safety during his career in Baltimore and was a multifaceted player in the secondary for the Ravens. He could do it all – intercepting quarterbacks and laying hard hits on ball carriers and receivers. But perhaps one of Reed’s greatest skill sets was his elusiveness as a return man. He holds the record for the top two longest interception returns in NFL history (106 and 107 yards) and also flashed as a punt returner at times.

When asked about Reed being eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, Ray Lewis told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, “It’s like me being inducted again. I raised that boy.”

The duo wreaked havoc on opposing offenses together for 11 seasons and left an unforgettable mark in Baltimore.

With all the greatness that surrounds Ray Lewis, let’s not forget about another Raven that will find his way into Canton. By this time next year, No. 20 will be sporting a gold jacket, there’s no doubt about it.