The biggest problem with Ravens safety Ed Reed's legacy has always been that he's overshadowed on his own team.
Ray Lewis is a larger than life figure in the NFL, given the combination of his outsized personality and incredible production. When NFL Films revealed its top 100 greatest players list, Lewis was 18th. Reed was 88th. The gap shouldn't be that large. And not because Lewis should be moved down.
There was that telling moment in the fantastic "Bill Belichick: A Football Life" documentary when Belichick and Tom Brady met before a game against the Ravens. Only NFL Films, Brady and Belichick know how that meeting was edited for the show, but what was shown was one of the greatest coaches and greatest quarterbacks ever stressing about one guy: Ed Reed. Not Ray Lewis.
"Every time they break the huddle, he's what you're looking at. You're not saying, 'OK, let's just snap the ball and go,' it's more like, 'Where's he at?'" Brady said.
So nobody should have been surprised when Reed picked off Cincinnati's Andy Dalton on Monday night and took it in for a touchdown.
That's what Reed has always done, going back to his college days at Miami. He always seems to be around the ball, but he's always around the ball because of his intelligence and preparation. Monday's big play was his 14th career touchdown, including playoffs. It was his 58th career interception in the regular season.
This past offseason, Reed kept hinting at retirement. We should all be glad he's back. He might be the best safety ever (Ronnie Lott certainly has an argument and probably wins it, as he was No. 11 on that greatest NFL players list -- but like with Lewis, the gap between Lott and Reed was way too large), and still has some great years left -- assuming that hamstring injury he suffered isn't too serious.
So as Ray Lewis is headed toward the end of his great career, appreciate him and his greatness. Just don't forget about his less celebrated teammate.
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