The Baltimore Ravens have been in existence since just 1996, but it's safe to say that if the franchise lasts another 100 years, safety Ed Reed will still be one of the few greatest players in the team's history. Reed signed a three-year contract with the Houston Texans this last week, but it's also safe to say that he'll never forget his 11 seasons in black and purple.
It took him a long time, but Reed went out of Baltimore with the ultimate prize when the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in February.
The nine-time Pro Bowler and five-time First-Team All-Pro has led the league in interceptions three different times (2004, 2008, 2010), won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2004, ranks first among all active players with 61 interceptions, and has defined Ravens football as much or more than anyone not named Ray Lewis.
To that end, Reed took out a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Baltimore Sun, to thank the people who cheered him on for over a decade:
My eleven seasons in Baltimore were more than I would have ever imagined, which is why I have such deep love for you all. I will forever cherish my time with the Ravens and the chills that ran down my spine when I finally kissed the Lombardi Trophy.
Special thanks to the City, Team, Organization and all the Fans! I'm going to miss being a part of this tremendous team and organization, but I'll always be Baltimore and my Foundation will remain in this community, this is not a goodbye, but a See You Soon.
Thank you for everything Baltimore, God Bless you.
ED REED #20
At some point in the 2013 NFL season, the Ravens will host the Texans, and it should be expected that Reed will get one of the more gracious and affectionate responses any visiting player will get in any stadium. M&T Bank Stadium will, after all, still be his home.