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.
As told to Glenn Clark
Haruki Nakamura was a safety for the Ravens from 2008-2012.
I used to always see him in meetings and he’d be sitting right next to [defensive coaches] Chuck Pagano or Teryl Austin or Mark Carrier. He’d be completely passed out, asleep, and I’d look at him and go, “Oh my gosh, this guy? He’s the best safety in the NFL and potentially ever to play the position?” You’re wondering to yourself, “How does he [do it]?” Because at a young age, you’re thinking a lot of your film-watching is in the meetings. …
And the coaches would wake him up, like, “Hey, Ed, check this out.” All of a sudden, Ed would open one eye and be able to look at the screen and he would dissect everything that was going to happen and all of us would just sit there and listen to him. And all of a sudden he’d go back and close his eyes and they would press play. Everything he said word for word would come across the screen, and we’d be like, “Oh my gosh.” But the thing is the reason he would be sleeping in meetings is because he was a night owl. He would spend all night watching film. He perfected his craft. His craft was so important to him. Just him as a person, he took so much pride in his preparation.
There was the common line of, “He guesses, he takes chances,” but every single play he’s ever made was so calculated and on point. He knew exactly what he was doing at all times, and so it was kind of frustrating to hear this is a guy who guesses and takes chances a lot. They really weren’t chances. This man knew the offensive coordinator to a T, but he could probably tell you what coaching tree line he came from — and the same thing for Ray [Lewis] as well. Those guys, they were football historians. They weren’t just football players. They could go in depth with a coordinator and say, “Oh yeah, he came from this coaching tree, and this is what they’ve done for this many years.” He used to be so amazing to hear; obviously, just a special, talented human being.
To read more memories of No. 20, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Reed.
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox
Issue 255: June/July 2019