Welcome to the latest 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, who picked off Tony Romo twice in last Saturday night's Ravens win over the Cowboys.
[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]
Sal DiFatta, Bmore:Hey Eddy, What did you choose to become a safety? It seems to me you would have been a dynamic WR with your ability to make people miss.
Ed 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."
Rick Stevenson, Lutherville, MD:Hey Ed. Do you ever talk to other safeties around the NFL? I think you're the best, but some say Troy Polamalu is. Thanks for your time and let's beat the Jags!
ER:"There are a lot of good ones in this league, and Troy made the Pro Bowl a couple years ago. We talked, and he's a great safety. He's a guy that I look at on film, just like Brian Dawkins and those guys who are good safeties that, when you're watching tape of those different teams, they're on it. So you have to pay attention. If you can't learn from watching somebody else, then I don't know what to say."
Ashwini Mistry, Baltimore:You are my favorite Ravens player. Who was your favorite football player of all time and did it inspire you to become a football player?
ER:"I'm more or less just a fan of the league. Seeing anyone play in the NFL was an inspiration, even if I didn't know I would get there. Some of the guys I followed were Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice. I was a 'Niners fan, so those guys were the players I watched. There was also Walter Payton, the Dome Patrol… I just like old-school football, and the old-school teams that I grew up with inspired me."
Alec Francis, Queen Creek, AZ:Congratulations on getting your 40th and 41st interceptions. It's always exciting to see you pick off a pass and run it back like a punt returner or a receiver. I'm surprised they haven't tried you in on offense like Antrel Rolle in Arizona. My question is, how do you trick the QB to throw the ball in your direction? I try doing the eye thing, giving the receiver some cushion, but I can never seem to trick the QB like you do. Do you have a special technique, or do you just have the speed to get anywhere you need to be?
ER:"Actually, you can read the quarterback by looking at his eyes. It's just where the quarterback is looking and where his body turned. The shoulders don't lie, just like the hips don't lie. A lot of it has to do with film study and practice, too."
Linda Carter, Baltimore:Hello, Ed, I just wanted to when is the next time that you will be out and about the Baltimore community doing your wonderful work that you do with our youngsters so that I may attend to shake the hand of the man that denied that T.O. fellow the opportunity to catch Romo's long ball down field. That interception made my day. Please tell Ray Ray and the rest of your team mates THANK YOU for that wonderful game. Look forward to seeing in the community and in the play-offs. GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!
ER:"Thanks for the support. I'm going to get with the planning committee for my foundation and do something here in Baltimore. I'm thinking about a golf tournament this summer. And of course, I always have my football camp down at my high school in Louisiana (Destrehan High School)."
Dylan McFall, Nazareth, PA:Could you give me some tips on how to play safety as well as you do? I'm pretty good at it, but I'm a skinny kid and not very good at tackling. Please help me in becoming a perennial Pro Bowler like my idol, you!
ER:"Sure. You have to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, and that goes beyond just what the coach tells you to do. You can go home and work out in your back yard, put in the extra time in the gym. It's about working harder than anyone else at that level. Good luck."
Garrett Irby, Baltimore:What options do you have in dealing with your pinch nerve after the season? How serious is the injury and will it impact your future as an NFL player?
ER:"I'm just trying to play and not think about it until I have to after the season. We still have some time."
Bruce Grundlow, Philadelphia:How much do you pay attention to people that say you're the best safety of all time?
ER:"That's nice, but I'm just doing my job, just playing the game, doing the things that I've been doing since I was a kid - just having fun with this and enjoying this blessing. I've been given this gift, and I'm just trying to utilize it."