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
Ulysses Frontha was Ed Reed’s track and field coach at Destrehan High School.
I basically coached him in track and football, but he also, his senior year, he went back and played baseball. He never got away from the track program, he stayed with me, and I had a deal with the baseball coach. “When you’re doing infield and things such as that, let Ed come to me and he can practice his track. When it gets time to go in the cage, he can come over there and bat.” Well, we went through and he did that his senior year, and the funny thing — we’re at the district track meet, and next door at Thibodaux High School they’re playing a district baseball game. So Ed was going to have to make a decision — and, really, he would have come and run track anyway. But he came to the track meet, he did his field events, which was the javelin and the long jump. He left, he went to the baseball game and played a couple innings of baseball, put his track uniform on, came back and ran the 4×100 relay. You tell people that and they look at you like, “No he didn’t.” The guy that was the baseball coach, we had a thing where we knew the kid was a good athlete, and we knew that he liked doing both.
He went to the state track meet. I mean, we practiced javelin maybe one day a week. A lot of people don’t realize he came in third during the state meet in the javelin. When he went to Miami, [Curtis] Johnson, who was coaching over there … knew that he was a track guy. And Curtis talked him into throwing the javelin at a track meet. And he sets a record at Miami throwing the javelin — threw it one time, one meet. But he was such a natural.
When Ed first went to the NFL, Ed was donating this and doing this for people. And as a [track] coach, me and the other guy who was coaching, we would sell concessions and stuff like that when it came time for the kids, because the kids never had to pay anything. We tried to make it where it was free for them. If they did pay anything, it would be very minimal — maybe $40, which would take you all season, track meets and everything. … Well, we’re getting ready to go to Tennessee for the national championships, and Ed is out there at [his football camp at Destrehan]. And he comes over and he says, “Coach, you know, y’all don’t ever ask for nothing. I want to do something for you all.” And then like we told him, “Man, we don’t need nothing,” and he wasn’t convinced. He said, “I want to do something for you all.” And I said, “Well, let me think about it.” And since we were going to Tennessee, we had been there before and we went to Dollywood [Parks and Resorts], and the kids loved it. So I went and I told him, I said, “Look, Ed, we want to take the kids to Dollywood.” And a lot of the kids didn’t have the money to go. So he said OK. So a few days later I received a check from Ed. Not only did it cover the kids, but he also covered the chaperones, and he said, “Coach, if you’ve got anything extra, get them something to eat.” That’s the type of guy he is. And that’s one of the reasons why we still respect him around here, because of that. He does things that you don’t have to ask him.
To read more memories of No. 20, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Reed.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Hall
Issue 255: June/July 2019