For the next edition of Inside Answers, where we've taken questions from fans and brought them to a top performer in the Ravens' most-recent game.
Here's safety Ed Reed with his answers.
[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]
Otto Saviluoto, Helsinki, Finland: Glad to see you back on the field! How did you start playing safety? Have you always played D?
Reed:"I was recruited as an athlete, a playmaker. So, playing safety was basically where the coach needed me. I played quarterback in high school, and I didn't like throwing interceptions. I guess I'd rather catch them."
Ernest Ekunseitan, Silver Spring, Md.: Hello Mr. Reed, I'm an 8th grader going into high school next year and I want to start playing football right away. I'm trying out for strong safety just like you play. I was wondering if it's hard to play strong safety, and what did you play in high school and what was your experience like?
Reed:"I actually played both defense and offense in high school, so it wasn't a big transition for me when I went over there from quarterback. I would say just have fun out there and work hard at it. When you're young, that's all you can do to learn the game first. Have fun. The biggest thing for me is making sure I communicate and get everyone in the right spots, then don't let the ball get behind you, both in the run or pass. But I'm still having fun, too. I haven't lost the kid's mentality out there."
Josh Nowiski, Flint, Mich.: When you pick off a pass, are you thinking of taking it for a pick 6 or does it just depend on how the game is going and the time left?
Reed:"You always want to score, but really I'm just thinking, 'Dodge their guys.' That's first. If I score, I score. I'm really so focused on the next play, that I don't really let things like that get to me. I've had the benefit of getting in the end zone a few times, though. It's fun, but you can't dwell on it. I'll look back on it when it's all over."
Shannon B., Bel Air, Md.: Ed Reed, Congratulations to you and your team on making it to the Playoffs!! How do you think the Patriots passing attack will be different without Wes Welker?
Reed:"Not much different. I don't think Tom Brady's worrying about that too much. They've got someone they've groomed to be just like Welker. Now, he's not Wes, but he's capable. It can't change just because one guy goes down. Edelman isn't too far from Welker. He's fast and good in the slot. Welker was so good because he worked hard."
Yurii Bartlett, Dale City, Va.: ED! My Birthday is the 20TH. Let's keep rolling the next few weeks, and we can call it my Birthday present!Can you see the future of our defense coming together strong? I like what we have been getting from guys like Zibby, Webb, Kruger, Ellerbe, and others. Who are some names we may not hear much that we should start watching for, or unsung guys doing their job and keeping their head down you think we should show some more love?
Reed:"You know Lardarius Webb. You know [Dannell] Ellerbe. You know [Justin] Harper. I really think we have some good, young receivers here, but it's hard to know who's going to still be here because of what coach and Ozzie want to do in the offseason. It's hard to replace guys like Ray [Lewis] and myself. But, Le'Ron [McClain], Ray [Rice], those guys you just hope come in and do their best to lead. They have to fit the program the way they're supposed to."
Dustin Lerma, San Antonio: Great win Sunday Ed! Being that you are part of the Miami alumni, do you keep track of the team throughout the season? Watch the bowl game?
Reed:"Of course I watched the bowl game, but I think they were up and down. There were some games they should have won, but that's what happens when you're young. They'll get back to their big-time level."
Elizabeth Mars, San Diego: First off, I have to say you are AWESOME! Here's my question: The NFL seems to be filled with huge egos and grandstanding. Yet you are consistently and obviously in it for the love of playing the game. How do you maintain a level head while still being regarded as one of the best at what you do?
Reed:"You know what? Accolades never made me as a man or in this game. It's not hard to stay humble in this game. You have to. It's not about the accolades. I still love this game the way I did when I was a kid."