Ed Reed to be Inducted into Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
NEW ORLEANS (July 16, 2019) – 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. Last October he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. In early August, he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and, then on August 10, he will return home to be enshrined in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Each year’s Hall of Fame class is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, a group of current and former media members who annually recognize a variety of award-winners, including the Hall of Fame, the Corbett Awards and the Eddie Robinson Award. The group also selects the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month each month.
A total of 26 individuals, including this year’s Hall of Fame class, and two teams will be honored at this year’s banquet.
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.”
The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 63rd year in 2019. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 85-year history. The 86th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2020. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.
Story by Lori Lyons of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.