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
Scott Martin was Ed Reed’s football coach at Destrehan High School.
The thing that probably stands out the most is what a humanitarian he is. Everybody talks about what a great player he is, and he’s a great player and a great person. I remember working a football camp with him back in the early 2000s. It was the football camp out at Destrehan High School. … Ed noticed right away that a lot of those kids didn’t have football shoes. They didn’t have cleats; they had tennis shoes or whatever. And he made the statement, “How can you have a football camp without football shoes?” He called Nike that day and they drop-shipped well over 100 pairs of football cleats to Destrehan High School so that every kid could have a pair of football cleats at that camp.
Ed was the kind of guy that led by example on the field. He wasn’t a flashy, flamboyant guy off the field. … We knew that he was a very special football player. Always knew, athletically, he was at the top of the ladder. My first year that I went to Destrehan, we did not have a good season. We were 2-8, and that was Ed’s junior year. We went to a summer football camp. I loaded up a bus down outside of New Orleans, and we rode all the way to Carrollton, Georgia, to West Georgia College to a Wing-T football camp. And of course, if you ask Ed, he brings that up to me more than anything about how that changed his life and so many others, just because so many of those kids had never been out of that type of surrounding. So it brought us together as a team.
We went into his senior year and the first game of the season, we had Ed playing quarterback and he was a defensive back. We were tied with Archbishop Rummel, who still is a great powerhouse in the New Orleans area, and it was 0-0 at half. They end up busting a long run in the second half, and Ed’s angle at the beginning of that run — he missed that tackle, the guy runs all the way for a touchdown. And they beat us, 35-0. And I remember walking off that field and we got into the coaches’ meeting, and I said, “Look, that guy is a special, special player. But we’re asking him to do absolutely too much. Let’s put him in position to be very successful.” So we moved him to a one-time player, we moved him to the defensive side of the ball. … He made so many great plays the rest of the year, and we ended up winning the district title and turning it around and going 8-4 that year.
To read more memories of No. 20, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Reed.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Hall
Issue 255: June/July 2019