As Ed Reed prepares to take his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, teammates, friends and coaches from his Ravens, college and high school years reflect on the legacy of the legendary Ravens safety with their favorite memories and never-before-heard stories. 

Butch Davis 
As told to Glenn Clark
Butch Davis was the head football coach at the University of Miami during Ed Reed’s first three years.

Of all the kids I think that I coached, I don’t know if there was one that was as inspirational, emotional and highly motivated … that I’ve ever been around. He was charismatic in his ability to kind of get a sense of what everybody needed to hear. If it was people who were being cocky and over things, he could bring people down. If guys were down and depressed or whatever, he could fire ’em up. He was that way all the time. He was that way in the locker room, on the field, at practice and at games.

I wasn’t there for his last year, but the year before we went 11-1 and … how critical he was on the sidelines of the Florida State game. We had played extraordinarily well — first time having an opportunity to be highly ranked, to beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl and stuff. He’s yelling and just screaming to guys, “Don’t give up, don’t look at the scoreboard, keep grinding, keep chopping away.” A lot of people don’t understand how important those players are to the success of your program. Ray [Lewis] was like that four years earlier, and they never played together obviously in their collegiate years, but they had a lot of similarities in that they could highly motivate other guys to play up to another level.

And so we win the game, they miss the field goal and stuff. There were a lot of times when things like that happen, coaches get credit and teams get credit, … but a lot of times, the things that guys like Ed do and some of the other people that play on the offensive line or whatever, they don’t get enough credit. But eventually over the course of his collegiate and NFL career, Ed obviously got everybody’s attention because he did the exact same thing for the Ravens.

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Courtesy of University of Miami Athletics

Issue 255: June/July 2019


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