Pick-Six Machine Ed Reed Turns 40 Years Old

    Ed Reed, one of the many iconic football products from The University of Miami,  a breeding ground for future Hall of Famers in the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000’s, had an illustrious NFL career and is considered by many to be one of the greatest defensive players to ever grace the game. 

    The iconic safety turns 40 years old today and is not far removed from his days as a game-wrecking, play-making pillar of the vaunted Ravens defense. Reed played 11 of his 12 years with the Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 2015. The eight time All-Pro safety led the NFL in interceptions three times, had an NFL record 1,590 interception return yards, nine career postseason interceptions (tied for an NFL record), and nine Pro-Bowl selections. 

    Marylandsportsblog on Twitter

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED REED!! https://t.co/fYEdrkm8Rs

    In 2012, his 11th year in the league, he finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as a prominent figure in what became known as “Ray (Lewis) Last Ride. Reed was always “Mr. Clutch” and his penchant for the big play is what prompted long-time Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to draft the Miami Hurricanes All-American in 2002 with the 24th pick.  

    He played on a team that probably had eight or nine guys that came on to play in the National Football League, Ozzie told USA Today reporter Gary Mihoces. But anytime a play needed to be made to make a difference in the ball game, Ed Reed made that play. In a critical point, whether it was a third-down play or fourth-down play, some play that Miami needed to seal the ballgame, Ed Reed made that play.

    GO ‘CANES! on Twitter

    Happy Birthday, Ed Reed! https://t.co/zJ8XfoYvBw

    Reed went onto become an NFL human highlight film on defense and today we relive the top 3 plays of his incomparable career. 

    1. Snatching Pigskin, Setting Records

    Reed officially established himself as an elite player in 2004 as he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, highlighted by his record-setting 106-yard pick-six against the Cleveland Browns. 

    He finished the season with 76 tackles and nine interceptions with 358 return yards. One of the greatest all-around seasons in history for a safety. 

    2. There’s No Escapin’ This

    No safety in history was as capable of pick-sixes as Reed. In 2008, he eclipsed his previous NFL record by one yard on a fourth-quarter runback during a 36-7 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles. With the Ravens well ahead, Reed picked off backup quarterback Kevin Kolb in the end zone, put on the afterburners and juked the entire squad, scoring his 10th career touchdown. 

    GO ‘CANES! on Twitter

    Happy Birthday, Ed Reed! https://t.co/Y3qKYhGBoF

    3. Going Out Like The Champion He Is

    Reeds final interception in a Ravens uniform came against Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII, the night hed raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the only time in his career.

    Sky Sports NFL on Twitter

    Ed Reed intercepts Kaepernick & Ravens get the ball back looking to extend lead even further! Reed ties record with 9th post-season pick

    Ed Reed finished his career ranked sixth on the all-time list with 64 in the regular season. Brian Griese was Reeds first interception victim at age 24. Ryan Tannehill was the last in the 35-year-old’s final game in 2013.

    Only Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, and New Orleans avoided throwing an interception against him. He never played a game against the Bears he was injured for contests against them in 2005 and 2009 and all of those teams except the Ravens played in the NFC.

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.