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. 

Tom Zbikowski 
As told to Glenn Clark

Tom Zbikowski was a safety on the Ravens from 2008-2012.

Ever since I saw the play against Boston College in college, he was a mythological creature at that point. He was something different. I knew I wanted to play like him, and I knew I was going to keep an eye on him. … It was just crazy to see him and have him teach you how to play ball, how to play football. For me, it was seeing him do backpedal drills the first time because I thought he was like the worst athlete I had ever seen. You know how pigeon-toed he is, so I saw him backpedaling and I’m like, “This dude can’t be serious. He’s messing around right now.” And that’s how it was. Especially coming from the wrestling and boxing world, you can’t be underestimating anyone [based] on how they look.

When we finally got to game-planning and scheming … the rest of the guys — the first-year guys, your other guys, your guys that aren’t your Ed Reeds — are just taking notes on this information for the first time, and this dude pretty much has their tendencies down better than coaches. He knows when they’re going to do screen plays, he knows when they’re going to be doing this play. 

It was lead by example, and if he needed to say something to straighten someone out, he would always be able to if he needed to. But you could see how much passion he had for football. He put his heart and soul into the game. There’s no way you can be a teammate, think of yourself any bit of a man or a teammate, and not at least put that much effort [in]. No matter what your skill level is or your talent level, you can always still put that much into whatever games you’re playing or however you can help this man achieve whatever it is he wants to achieve. 

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox 

Issue 255: June/July 2019


For more from PressBox, read the latest news here.