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Ed Reed Greatest INT Returner Ever

Posted Sep 10, 2012

Safety Ed Reed took over as the NFL's all-time leader in interception return yards.

Add another line to Ed Reed's resume.

Just a few hours before his 34th birthday, the future Hall of Famer became the NFL's all-time leader in interception return yards (1,497 yards) with his 34-yard interception return for a touchdown. Reed passed former Ravens and Steelers safety Rod Woodson to take over as the NFL's best.

"I just think it's poetry to see those guys do what they do," longtime teammate Ray Lewis said about Reed's accomplishment.

The interception came in the third quarter on Monday night's 44-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. The touchdown came right after a Ravens' touchdown drive and gave Baltimore a three-score lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"[His interception] probably didn't seal the game, but put it out of reach," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That was big."

On the return, Reed ran down the sideline carrying the ball with one hand, and outran the offense to the end zone [add] as he stretched the ball over the pylon for the touchdown. It was Reed's 13th career return touchdown, which ties him for fourth all-time in NFL history.

"I wasn't going to let the O-linemen catch me," Reed joked, eliciting laughter among reporters. "That's why I just dove."

The return was characteristic of the kinds of plays Reed has made throughout his 11-year career.

"I've been doing it pretty much my whole career," Reed said. "It's just a blessing for the D-line to make that play and kind of make it happen for me."

Lewis said that some of the plays that Reed makes reminds him of what he used to see Woodson do when they were teammates together in the early years of the Ravens.

"One of the greatest things I could compliment Ed on, is one of the greatest things that I've had the pleasure to do is play with two of the greatest safeties and defensive backs that I've ever seen play and that's Rod Woodson and Ed Reed," Lewis said.

Cornerback Lardarius had similar praise for Reed. Even after playing with Reed for the last four years, Webb is still surprised by what the safety can do.

"Whenever he makes plays, it's just like, 'Man, how does he do that,'" Webb said. "He just makes plays – play, after play, after player – and when I see them I just see legendary. I just see greatness."

After the pick six, Reed returned to the sideline and briefly entered the tunnel to the locker room grabbing his hamstring. He didn't return to the game and said afterward that he strained his hamstring. However, the injury does not appear serious and Reed said that he will play next week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It's minor," Reed said. "I've been in this situation before. It's just about managing and knowing it."

And in terms of taking down another category in the record books, it will be yet another statistic to rattle off when Reed makes his way to Canton. 

"He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, without question," Harbaugh said.

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