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. 

Rex Ryan 
As told to Glenn Clark

Rex Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator from 2005-2008 and the head coach of the New York Jets when Ed Reed played there in 2013. Reed was also an assistant defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills under Ryan in 2016.

We had some good times. He was so smart. I do remember one time Ray [Lewis] and Ed wanted to call the game, so we were in a preseason game. I go, “Guys, it’s not as easy as you think.” But we’re in a preseason game and they come out and they’re in a no-huddle to start a preseason game. Man, they’re panicking. They don’t have any idea of what to call or anything else, and I left ’em out there. I never said anything. Finally they come to the sideline. I say, “OK, do you want me to call it?” “Yeah, yeah, Coach, we want you to call it.” That was kind of their baptism on that one. Either way, it was pretty funny. And we used to go at it. Sometimes they had some great ideas.

I used to lean on those players and guys like Ed and Ray. I’d say, “All right, what are you thinking, what are you seeing?” And they were smart. They’d give you great feedback. I’ll never forget, we were playing the Rams one game and I call an all-out blitz. They’re like, “No, no, no.” They call timeout. I go, “What?” They know I’m hot. I’m like, “We’re going to close this game out right here, right now. We’re going to win this thing.” So sure enough, they [say], “All right, Coach, we’ll go with the call.” Ray ends up hitting the quarterback, the ball goes sailing into the air and Ed intercepts the ball. I’m like, “Oh, there you go, guys.” So either way, they were just phenomenal players, and he was a guy that you could really lean on because he had a great perspective of the game. He was smart. And it was kind of a pied piper also, meaning that those players followed Ed Reed. That’s what I remember. I was fortunate to coach two once-in-a-lifetime players on the same defense.
As a coach, it was funny because he was just coming into it so he was just getting his first experience ever coaching but I thought he did a good job for us. Unfortunately, I had him targeting one guy: Aaron Williams. He was going to make Aaron Williams a great player. I think we were top five in defense that year at one time and then that kid got hurt. Then it’s like, “Aw, shoot.” Really hurt us and we never really had an NFL safety back there. We had a converted corner, we converted another corner and all that, but Aaron was our only guy that was a true safety and we ended up losing him, but Ed did a great job with him.

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox 

Issue 255: June/July 2019


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