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
Ed Reed lived with the Hall family during his sophomore, junior and senior years at Destrehan High School.
He was very competitive, even in high school. Rondell Mealey, who played for LSU, was a very good running back, was a few years ahead of him, was sort of like a mentor as far as he kind of looked up to Rondell somewhat. They were kind of equal on sports though, they competed a lot. So many nights, they would have basketball games in the front yard, in my driveway, and it would be 1 o’clock in the morning because neither one of them wanted to quit because the other was ahead. It was ridiculous. They would shoot hoops because both of them were very talented; they would just not quit the game. They would have races down my street. One of his other teammates, Aaron Smith, who was very fast on the team. Aaron was quick off the start but didn’t have longevity, so that used to burn Edward up because Edward would get him in the long run but they would do these short sprints — again 12 o’clock at night, 1 o’clock in the morning. I’m like, “Get in the house before I call the cops.” They would be racing on the road, that kind of thing. They were hilarious. Then they’d come in and play cards to all hours of the morning and they’d wake me up at 3 o’clock and tell me they’re hungry for breakfast. Not happening, guys, not happening, y’all go to sleep. It was fun.
Needless to say, my children and I have a hard time thinking of Edward as famous. It’s Edward; no, “Oh my gosh, you’re such a big deal.” [My daughter] Leslie would go to a lot of the games in Miami with me. All the kids would go here and there. But anyway, we’re at the game in Baltimore, it’s just her and I, we get to the game, Edward drops us off. He goes and we park in the parking lot, we go up to the game, he’s playing. It’s after the game, so we’re waiting in the players’ parking lot right there. And then so he calls me on my phone, he says, “Look, don’t go in the players’ parking lot. Go outside, go down the street.” And she had never been there. I knew kind of how big of a deal he was at this point, but I don’t think she had been there yet for one of these big Baltimore games, that everybody had fallen in love with him and he was this big, famous person. So anyway, so she’s like, “Oh my god, do we have to?” I said, “Leslie, he said walk down the street just a block.” “OMG, this is so ridiculous, I can’t believe he’s making us walk down the street. What is his problem?” I said, “I don’t know, he just said walk down the street, just hush and let’s go.”
So we walk down the block outside of the players’ parking lot. So all of the sudden he pulls out and comes in and he pulls up to the curb. Well, all this crowd of people recognize his car. I guess it’s all the fans who are waiting. So they all jump all over the car and trying to get to the car and she looks at me and she goes, “OMG, what is the matter with these people? Are they really after him?” We’re trying to get in the car and I was trying to make a quick getaway here and Edward’s driving and she goes, “Edward, what is wrong with these people? Are they really that crazy about you? Are you really that big of a deal?” And it was so funny. He’s laughing and he goes, “All right, Leslie, if ever I need to come down or get knocked down a bit,” and she goes, “Oh yeah, just call me up, I can tell you who you are.” She was really good at letting him know you are not a big deal. It was hilarious. They used to argue all the time. So I’m sitting there and she goes, “You’re really not a big deal,” and he goes, “Well these people think [so],” and I’m like, “OK, y’all stop. This is not a big deal. Let’s just get out of this place before you hit somebody.” She and Nicole, my other daughter, had a very good way of if you ever think you are somebody just let us know and we’ll remind you. You are just Edward. You are not a big deal.
To read more memories of No. 20, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Reed.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Hall
Issue 255: June/July 2019