The Baltimore Ravens announced a one-day contract with free safety Ed Reed, allowing one of the best safeties of all time to retire with his home team.
Reed was a transcendent player who earned the respect of many around the Patriots, with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady heaping the most praise.
In Bill Belichick's A Football Life, there's an entire moment dedicated to Belichick and Brady discussing how they have to be aware of where Reed is on the field at all times.
"He’s the best weak safety I’ve seen since I’ve been in the National Football League in my career," Belichick told the press back in 2012. "He’s outstanding at pretty much everything. The list goes on and on with him. It’s just a question of pretty much anything he’s out there for, he’s good at."
When Reed moved on from the Ravens after the 2012 season, Brady lobbied to have the free safety sign with the Patriots- but that might have been so the quarterback wouldn't have to face him again. One of the best pictures about Ed Reed doesn't include Reed in the image. It's of Tom Brady's call sheet, where the quarterback's written, "FIND 20 ON EVERY PLAY" as a reminder.
"He’s pretty much ingrained permanently in my mind," Brady said of the safety prior to their 2012 regular season game. "He’s such a playmaker for them, and he shows up in a lot of different spots."
Reed is all too happy to return the praise. In his retirement speech, he noted that he considers Tom Brady, along with Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger, the best quarterback he's faced. He also took a dig at the Browns and Bengals, saying that he loved to face whoever they had lining up at quarterback.
In seven career games against Brady, four in the regular season and three in the playoffs, Ed Reed's teams are 3-4 (2-1 in the playoffs), with the safety snagging two interceptions in those games. Brady is 156/273 (57.1%) for 1,735 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions for a ghastly passer rating of 72.5.
How happy is Brady to see Reed ride off into the sunset? In his two games against the Ravens without Reed, Brady is 47/76 (61.8%), for 539 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception for a passer rating of 95.2.
Reed was a true competitor and a fierce opponent. He made most games a nightmare and he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes. The Patriots are relieved that he is no longer taking the field.
I mean this in the most flattering and respectful of ways: Ed Reed's reign is over. Good riddance.