As Ed Reed prepares to take his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, teammates, friends and coaches from his Ravens, college and high school years reflect on the legacy of the legendary Ravens safety with their favorite memories and never-before-heard stories.
When he was a kid in New Orleans, they didn't have the opportunity or the resources to get out of their little neighborhood. And then in high school, he was taken on a football recruiting trip, and all of the sudden his world was opened up, and he knew he had to commit himself to his studies and his football in order to get himself out. And it's not to say that he came from a bad home or anything, but he knew that there was so much more out there. And that's really his foundation that speaks volumes. His work ethic is so clear with the football player he was, but he's dedicated himself just as fully to his community work.
Something as simple as that kid getting a signature could totally change that kid's path and he really, truly believes in that. The Richmond field trips that we take kids on from Booker T. -- and we send them to every Ravens home game -- seem so simple to most of us, but to those kids it's this eye-opening experience where they've never seen a stadium. They live a mile down the road; they've never seen people gather for the tailgate. They're like, "What is this? What are all these people doing?" It's not to say that what we do isn't huge, but it's about those little, tiny things that push these kids to say, "OK, if I commit myself a little harder to my studies or I get my act a little more straight, that'll help me get to the next level in whatever I'm doing, whether it's going to high school or graduating, going to college, whatever it may be. That completely speaks to Ed's character and what his foundation is rooted it in.
Issue 255: June/July 2019