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. 

Derrick Mason 
As told to Glenn Clark

Derrick Mason was a wide receiver for the Ravens from 2005-2010.

I’ve had the opportunity to play with some great players. Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Steve McNair, Eddie George, obviously Bruce Matthews, but Ed was different. I’ve always said Ed is the greatest player I think I’ve played with, and we’re talking about some Hall of Fame players that I’ve had the pleasure to play with, including two or potentially three [Ravens] with Terrell Suggs. But I just think Ed Reed … was the best defensive player that I’ve seen, and I’ve been watching football for a very long time. I think he’s the best secondary player if you’re going to combine safety and corner. I think he’s the best secondary player I’ve ever seen play the game. His instinct to play the game was like no other. He could’ve played wide receiver I think if he wanted to. He was just that athletic.

Ed got fiery now, but for the most part he was just a laid-back guy. … I was kind of the opposite of Ed Reed. … Everything to me was just chaos, but it was a controlled chaos. But I was fiery, and I remember playing Cleveland one day — one Sunday — and I was so upset. … I wasn’t a part of the game at that point. And it was early in the game and I wanted to be a part of the game, and we were down. And I’m so upset and I’m getting ready to walk away and go in the locker room, and I’m thinking to myself, “How much longer do I want to do this?” And Ed, as I’m walking in the locker room — and mind you, it’s still the second quarter, and I think we had maybe three minutes left — so I’m thinking I’m going in the locker room early. Obviously they don’t need me. So I’m going to the locker room early to get myself prepared for the second half.

I’m getting ready to go out because I’m upset. Ed comes and grabs me by my shoulder pads and says, “Listen, we need you. Chill out. We need you, man. I understand what’s going on, but we need you. Come back out here, get in the game, and let’s go.” And I was like, “All right.” Came back and things ended up working out for me in the second half. It was just that coolness of him, that level-headedness of him. He came and grabbed me and said, “Listen, we’re going to need you. Chill out. Things will be fine. Come back on the sideline. We’ll be fine.” And things were fine. So, those are the things that people didn’t see Ed do. 

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox 

Issue 255: June/July 2019


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