CANTON, Ohio – As the waves of praise from Bill Belichick washed over him during his career, Ed Reed sometimes seemed circumspect.
He returned the praise, to be sure. But it’s different for a player. If Reed were to praise Belichick with the same unreserved awe that Belichick praised Reed, that wouldn’t go over too well with his own head coaches, Brian Billick or John Harbaugh.
So it was usually measured.
But on Friday, the day before he enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the former Ravens safety was downright giddy about discussing Belichick.
I asked him what it was like competing with Tom Brady and Belichick on a regular basis.
“It was the best,” Reed answered quickly. “You always want to play a game and go against the best. You want them to bring out the best in you. That’s the only way to do it.
Honestly, if you go against teams that don’t love it the way you love it, you can take it lightly sometimes. Its’s only natural.
“But I loved those games, going against the greats. Who else would you rather go against? The Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, the Coach Belichicks.”
“You know they referred to you as ‘Ed Belichick’ in the Patriots locker room?” I said to Reed.
“I learned a lot from him,” he said. “I coached in the NFLPA collegiate bowl in January and made sure I wore my Belichick sweater (with cut off sleeves). And we won that game, you know. And our side had never won in eight years, so…”
Reed coached under Rex Ryan with the Bills. Said it was a bad experience.
Interestingly, he said he nearly applied for a job as a DB coach with the Patriots but he was cowed by the knowledge Ravens fans would flip out.
So even though Reed is a little more free with his affinity for Belichick, he’s still looking over his shoulder a little bit as to how the folks in Baltimore might take it.
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