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Ed Reed Memories: John Harbaugh

June 19, 2019
Ed Reed Hall Of Fame Odyssey Header Graphic

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. 

John Harbaugh 
As told to Bo Smolka

John Harbaugh has been the head coach of the Ravens since 2008.

Early on in 2009, he was playing a certain coverage a certain way, and it was really risky the way he was playing it. We went to San Diego, and he guessed wrong twice against Philip Rivers. Philip got him twice. So Ed and I had a talk about it, because I'm a secondary guy. I said, "We're not playing it that way anymore. It's too risky. Can't afford to get beat like that. I need you to play it this other way." And you know what? He agreed. He was like, "OK, Coach, we'll do it that way."

Now we are playing Cincinnati later in the season, and he sees a formation and he goes from his backside quarter and he runs down and picks off the ball 3 yards across the line of scrimmage on a little pick-under route. He takes it to the house [for a 52-yard touchdown return].

He comes off the field, and he's got a big smile on his face. I'm like, "You son of a gun! Did you at least tell [Lardarius Webb] he was on his own? Webby was the corner on that other side." He goes, "No! I knew where they were throwing the ball. They weren't throwing to Webby's guy!"

I'm like, "You know what? That's Ed Reed right there."

He's cool, and he'll listen, but you gotta give him a chance to play a little bit.

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox 

Issue 255: June/July 2019