Ed Reed – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Destrehan H.S./U. of Miami/NFL
Throughout his 12-year playing career, Ed Reed always seemed to know exactly where he was supposed to be. His highlight reel is proof of that, showing him get to the right place to make big play after big play, interception after interception, and contributing a few amazing kick returns for good measure. All document the stellar athleticism Reed possessed from his days as multi-purpose athlete at Destrehan High School through 12 seasons in the National Football League.
Now that his playing days are over, Reed is still ending up right where he is supposed to be, alongside other great athletes in halls of distinction. In 2012 Reed was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. In 2017 he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. In the fall of 2018, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. Then in early August of 2019, he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, follwoed by August 10, when he will return home to be enshrined in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The string of Hall of fame ceremonies has been a whirlwind of memorable nights for the River Parishes native.
“It’s been awesome,” said Reed. “It’s been a little tiring, but it’s been great. I really haven’t had a chance to soak it all in yet. I’m really enjoying just going through it. To me, it’s more about those who have helped me. Them being proud to see what they really had their hand in, that matters to me.”
Reed, who calls the River Parishes community of St. Rose home, certainly brought excitement to those who watched him play. He grew up honing his skills on area playgrounds as his dad, Edward Reed Sr., dragged him and his brother to his various recreation league nights. By the time he got to Destrehan High School, Reed could do just about anything – and did.
Over four years he lined up at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, punter, punt and kick returner and defensive back. He also was a standout player in baseball, basketball and track, where he was an excellent triple jumper, javelin thrower and ran on a state champion 4×100 relay team.
But Reed excelled at defensive back, earning all-state honors and getting the attention of fellow River Parishes native Curtis Johnson, who was then an assistant coach for the Hurricanes. Johnson lured Reed to the Sunshine State where Reed continued to make a name for himself on the way to winning a National Championship in 2001.
Besides graduating with a liberal arts degree, Reed finished with 21 interceptions for 389 yards and was a Consensus All-American in 2001 and 2002. He holds Miami records for career interceptions, most career interceptions returned for touchdowns (4), most career interception return yards (389) and most season interception return yards (206 in 2001). He is second in games started with 48, tied for third in consecutive games with an interception (4, twice), is tied for fourth in consecutive games played (49) and tied for 6th in total games played (49).
Reed was consensus All-Big East (2000, 2001), the 2001 National Defensive Player of the Year by the Football News, a 2001 Jim Thorpe finalist, a 2001 Bronko Nagurski semi-finalist and was named a Freshman All America by the Football News and Sporting News in 1998. He also continued to excel in track and field, winning the javelin competition at the 1999 Big East Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Reed was drafted in the first round of the 2002 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens (24th overall) and went on to play 12 spectacular seasons in which he was selected first-team All-Pro five times and was elected to the Pro Bowl nine times. He had 64 career interceptions (seventh on the NFL’s all-time list), with seven touchdowns. He also broke up 141 passes in 174 games and had 13 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles.
He is still the NFL’s leader in interception return yards with 1,590 and holds the record for the longest interception return, a 107-yard return in 2008 against Philadelphia, which broke the previous record of 106 yards set in 2004 – by Reed.
Now an avid golfer, Reed still does what he can for his community. Although he splits time between Baltimore and Georgia, he still returns to Destrehan every summer (usually with a bunch of NFL players in tow) to host his annual kids football camp. This year he also broke ground on the St. Rose Park, a project he has been trying to get started for a few years now.
“We need a park,” he said. “These kids have no outlet, nothing to do, nowhere to go except hang out on the corner. It’s just a place where they can go and get out of the house. I grew up at the park. I did everything at the park. I just know how important it is for these kids to get that energy out.”
Meanwhile, Reed is doing his best to bring his fans and friends along with him on his post-career journey through the various halls of fame. He regularly shared photos on his social media accounts as he went through fittings for his gold jacket and sittings for his bronze bust.
“I try to bring joy to those who know me,” he said. “I try to keep them on the journey because a lot them were on the journey, you know. I want to show my appreciation. It matters to me that everybody can see it now and I can bring that joy.”
Story submitted by Lori Lyons of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.