"20 Ravens Relics In 20 Years" is a series celebrating the team's 20th anniversary that will tell the story behind 20 key objects in franchise history. The stories and photos of the relics will be unveiled before each 2015 game. Fans can view all of the items featured in our Ravens Relics series on permanent display at the Sports Legends Museum and in an interactive display on Ravens Walk before every home game.
For 11 years, seeing No. 20 in the Ravens secondary instilled fear in the hearts of opposing teams. Safety Ed Reed helped define some of the greatest years in Baltimore Ravens history, and chants of "REEEEEEEED" echoing through M&T Bank Stadium were a constant reminder of the transcendent talent lurking on defense.
"I had the privilege of watching him play, and I know every time pre-snap, the quarterback wanted to know where Ed Reed was," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said at Reed's retirement ceremony. "Every time post-snap, they better know where Ed Reed was, because he would make the pick or make the play that we would need."
Reed was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and quickly became a mainstay in Baltimore for the next decade. The ballhawk safety's combination of speed, ball skills and defensive instincts made him an unstoppable force in the secondary, resulting in nine Pro Bowls, a Defensive Player of The Year award, and a Super Bowl Ring over his esteemed career.
"He's one of the guys that when things are all said and done, you're probably going to look back on and say, 'Man, that was cool to be able to play with him for as long as I did,'" quarterback Joe Flacco said. When you're here for the time period I was here and what he was doing, a pick-six was a normality; you thought that happened every weekend everywhere."
Reed finished his career atop the leaderboards for several NFL and Ravens franchise records. But despite his athleticism, what set Reed apart from others was his intense preparation in the film room studying the opposition.
"You have to put that study in," Reed said. "If you don't put the study in, you're going out there really unprepared … It helped me not to guess out there on the field. You have to know and believe and trust it. It helped me trust my abilities when I was out there on the football field."
Fans will chant Reed's name on Sunday as the future Hall Of Famer is inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor. In that moment, No. 20 will capture the hearts of Ravens Nation once again.