Baltimore ravens: ED REED RETIREMENT PRESS CONFERENCE
President Dick Cass, General Manager/Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome,
*Head Coach John Harbaugh & S Ed Reed
Ozzie Newsome opening statement: "Good afternoon. Just about three or four minutes ago, I signed Ed Reed to his third contract with the Ravens."
(JOHN HARBAUGH) "It was a hard negotiation, I can tell you." (laughter)
(ED REED) "It was." (laughter)
(NEWSOME) "First time he never looked at the number. He just signed it. (laughter) *But he will be on our official 90-man roster today up until 4 'o clock tomorrow, and then at that point, we'll put him on Reserved/Retired, which means he officially retires a Raven. When I think of Ed … In this building over the last month or so, we watched a lot of tape. Coach [Harbaugh] and I – and all the coaches that are out there – we've seen some good players and not so good players. But when I think about looking at Ed Reed when he was coming out of the University of Miami … As you're watching tape, there are good players, but then there are players that are, as he said, 'He's a playmaker,' but there are also players that [are] a game-changer. Ed was a game-changer at the University of Miami. He played on a pretty good defense, so he played the middle of the field for the most part, so you really have to watch the tape – and anytime there was a critical moment for the Miami defense, it seemed that Ed Reed made the play to secure the win, to get the ball back for their offense. And there [are not] too many times that you see a player that can transition that from college to the National Football League, and Ed Reed was able to do that. I had the privilege of watching him play, and I know every time pre-snap, the quarterback wanted to know where Ed Reed was. 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. The other aspect of that is over the years – whether it was myself, with "Shack" [James Harris], with Phil [Savage], with Eric [DeCosta], with Pat [Moriarty], with Jess [Markison] – we would be sitting in the box or sitting in the press box on the road, and we could all sense at some point, it's Ed Reed's time. Whenever we knew it was time for a play to be made, we would all say to ourselves, 'It's Ed Reed time.' So, it's Ed Reed's time. (laughter) *And probably the next time I'll be standing next to him will be in Canton. Ed Reed, thanks for the years."
Ed Reed opening statement: "Thank you, Ozzie. Thank you. I don't know really how to open this up, but it's a great day. I'm really appreciative of the Ravens family. From Day One when Ozzie first called me and asked me if I was ready – he just said, 'Are you ready?' – and I told him, 'Yes.' And then I came in that next day, my hair all over my head, and he has Ms. Val [Wideman] braid my hair back there. (laughter) But I'm very appreciative of the Modell family, Steve Bisciotti. [There are] so many people I want to thank just from supporting me from Little League all the way up to being in the NFL, so many people that helped me to get to this point. Even [having] the success here with the Ravens, so many people helped me. O.J. Brigance grabbed me my first year as a rookie and talked to me about being a professional, not knowing he was setting me up to be giving a speech to the rookies my second year about professionalism. But that was just him being a big brother to me and helping me, just guiding me to do the right things. [This is about] all the coaches, all my coaches from little league all the way up to a Super Bowl win with coach Harbaugh [and] all those guys who sharpened that iron from a little kid. As coach Harbaugh used to say, 'Iron sharpens iron,' and I'm sure he still says that to this day, because it's the truth. We as people – we as a community here in this country, on this earth – we're one big community, and iron does sharpen iron. We see that with our people throughout the day, throughout the years. I'm just grateful. I'm really grateful to be here. Not a lot of people get to experience this day. [I thank] a lot of players – all my teammates – who I played with who are not able to retire, who don't retire like this, a lot of guys who are just ghosts to the game who really [were] a part of us winning games, losing games, winning the Super Bowl. Me being a successful teammate … I'm not a successful individual without my teammates, so I'd like to thank those guys. My teammates that are in here right now – Asa [Jackson], Jimmy [Smith], 'Little Webb' [Lardarius Webb], my boy Lardarius, who is a brother to me. We talk in the offseason about a lot of things. Just all my teammates, all my coaches – coach [Dean] Pees is here. [There are] a lot of great coaches like coach Pees and coach Harbaugh who are very detail [oriented] coaches. And I was fortunate enough to experience the free agent market, and not knowing that was a lesson to be learned. And I learned a lot that one year – 2013 – when I went to a great organization that the Houston Texans were, just going through ups and downs and able to help them see the light – sorry to say – and being with the Jets also. So, I'm thankful to those two organizations for giving me another opportunity to showcase my talents. But home is here. Home has always been in Baltimore. My heart has always been in Baltimore. It will always be in Baltimore and in M&T Bank Stadium. To the fans, what can I not say about you guys? I love every bit of the Baltimore fans across the country, but I also love the NFL fans just for the support that they give to us as players as an NFL community, as an organization. Without you guys, there [are] no players. For one, we're not getting paid without you guys, but we're not as motivated without you guys. You guys motivate us like no other [with] all the screams, the yells, and we know how much that does for the community. We know how much that does for the cities across the nation. Everybody is happy when their team is winning; nobody is happy when their team loses. Those things, we can learn from. Football has taught me so much in life. Football teaches so much in life. I had a great conversation with a guy on a plane who I took a picture with when I came to the Pittsburgh game last year for my birthday. I took a picture with him on the plane, and it's so ironic – God works in mysterious ways – that I'm on a plane with the same guy, and we're having a great conversation just about the world, about people, about everything in life. Two regular people just having a great conversation. It really put things in perspective on the plane. It made me think about me as a kid growing up and kids growing up today and all the things that I've seen on tape, all the things I've seen on camera transpiring across the world, but in Baltimore specifically the last week. Football, sports – things that are able to give kids direction – take them away from peers that don't want to do the right thing or things in the street that will take them away from their focus or being able to strive for betterment as a person. Football and sports was my job. Football and sports, I feel, is the job of kids. Even if it's not sports, [if] it's something that kids can be doing, whether it's boy scouting, girl scouting, volleyball, whatever it may be. It might not be athletics, but it has to be something that we as grown folk, as elders, give to the kids to do as a job, because I didn't know that was my job as a kid – going to school, getting the right education, playing sports. But when you get older, you realize it. It teaches you so much. There's so much that we learn through sports that you don't get in everyday life. Football, sports has broken so many barriers – we all know that – and teaches us so much. You're not going to be successful unless you're a team, and in sports you're a team, unless you play golf or something like that. But even in golf, you have a caddy, and that's your teammate that you have to work with. That iron sharpens iron, like coach says. I could do this all day, as much as I didn't like talking to [the media], because you guys tend to twist things! (laughter) We know that, but there are also the guys out there that are not like my buddy over there, Mike Preston – who I love dearly – who tend to write what they want to write, whatever. The truth is the truth, but we also can learn through bad or good lessons. We learn through … We have to learn our lessons when we go through the peaks and valleys of life. I could talk forever. I'm very appreciative. This is home. Baltimore – I love the city, I love this organization. I hope that I did more than I was supposed to as a Raven, bigger than any contract could ever explain as a player. Ozzie, when I did sign that contract I did look for a number. (laughter) He did teach me to be a business man. Like I said, you learn so much being around great people. Ozzie is a Hall of Famer. Mr. Cass, who I always said I have so much respect for you and all the things that you support and do throughout the community for the organization. Everybody through here – the PR department who help, marketing, everybody who worked in this organization, we understood and knew that from top to bottom that we can do it together. And that's what was preached from Steve [Bisciotti] many times in this room to the team and to everybody. I can remember him having everybody in here, talking to the organization. So many lessons that [have] been learned, and I could say many thank yous to everybody that really had a part."
Dick Cass opening statement: "We all know Ed was a great football player, but I think what some may not appreciate is what a great community leader he was in Baltimore and is in his own community in Louisiana. When he came to Baltimore, he almost immediately embraced the Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore, and he had a commitment there for as long as [he was] a player, and [he] continues to have a commitment. He brought 26 kids to all of our home games – every game – for over 10 years. He ran a fitness program at the Booker T. Washington Middle School. [There is] a deep commitment there. The SEED School – a public charter-boarding school in the City of Baltimore – he has been a big supporter there. [He has] helped them fund their new football programs, starting a new Ed Reed 5k run there to help support the school, Thanksgiving meals both at the Booker T. Washington Middle School and the SEED School. [It's a] deep commitment to the City of Baltimore. And the love that he felt for the city has been returned many times over by our fans and by the people in Baltimore who know that Ed is committed to the city, and that deep commitment is returned to you in many ways. It's not only in Baltimore where Ed has made a commitment. If you go back to Louisiana, he does a lot of great things there. [He] runs an annual camp there, football camp. I understand you're building a park down in your old neighborhood where they haven't had one?"
(REED) "[We're] trying to do it across the nation."
(CASS) "Ed as a citizen of Baltimore, a citizen of the United States and not just a great football player. He means a lot to this community. He's going to continue to be a part of this community. I want to correct one thing Ozzie said: Ozzie is not going to introduce him until Canton or talk to him until Canton. The truth is you're going to be in our Ring of Honor [on] Nov. 22, and Ozzie you're going to have to handle that ceremony at halftime. And it's going to be a great addition to the Ring of Honor, well-deserved as we talked about before. We're excited about that, and it's such a great day for the Baltimore Ravens as well as for you, Ed."
John Harbaugh opening statement: "I get to talk a little bit about football. That's probably the most fun part about Ed Reed in so many ways. I just remember so many speeches he gave to our guys about Baltimore and about doing this for Baltimore and how important Baltimore was and should be to the Ravens and just driving that into our heads – right, Lardarius? – and what that meant to the city and everything like that. And then the moments … We're watching the video … Did everyone just get chills? Did you get goose bumps? Those plays, those moments [were incredible]. I think back to the Dolphins game when we were in Cover 5 – which is two-deep, man under – and Ed picks off a shallow cross from the strong side, and he's playing weak safety and goes and picks it off. Did you run it for a touchdown? I think you did."
(REED) "No, I tripped." (laugher)
(HARBAUGH) "Oh my."
(REED) "I was too fast."
(HARBAUGH) "So, [I said], 'What did you see? What did you see?' I was cheering during the game, but then of course we got back on Monday, and I had to ask, 'What exactly made you go get that route?' And he took me through it step by step. He taught me football. I don't know if you let the corner know you were going to go or not."
(HARBAUGH) "The corner thought he had help. (laughter) But he said, 'That formation when the quarterback's eyes are here and that particular release system happens, that's where he goes with the ball 100 percent of the time.' That's from film study. That's from watching years of film study, knowing a quarterback, knowing an offensive system."
(CASS) "When he was running down the field, were you also thinking, 'Don't lateral!'" (laughter)
(HARBAUGH) "No comment. (laughter) Oh, man. How about the one to Dawan [Landry at Carolina in 2010]? That went to the house, and we needed that at the time."
(REED) "I remember a couple of them."
(HARBAUGH) "I think about Kansas City. One Kansas City game in the regular season where we're struggling, and we haven't scored a touchdown, and they fumble a quarterback sneak. I don't know where you came from, Ed. Ed picks it up and recovers it in the backfield and runs it down the field, halfway down the field. Or when we're in the playoffs here and it's about 2 degrees, the field is frozen, and we're having a tough time stopping the run game, and 'Lightning Bolt' here comes out of nowhere and just hammers the back and knocks him out of the game and causes a fumble and turns the whole momentum of the game. Those moments you can't forget, but the other moments are the relationship moments. The moments talking like you talked about with the guy on the plane – talking about life, talking about our kids, talking about our friends, talking about what's important, about Baltimore, whatever it might be. And the one moment I'll never ever forget is the moment on the bus ride from the Superdome back to the hotel after the [Super Bowl] game – after all the celebration and everything – and Ed took my seat. I got to the bus, and Ed is in my seat, and he says, 'Coach, I got this seat tonight.' (laughter) You can have it, you earned it! So, I sat across from him. We just looked at each other. I think the basis … I don't know what we exactly said other than, 'We did it. We did it together.' And I think it's a shared vision that over time, through the peaks and valleys, like Ed talked about, that you become of one mind, and that's the thing that Ed Reed means to me and what he meant to our players and our coaches. We were of one mind, and that's how you become the iconic type of player that Ed Reed became. I'm just proud to be around him, be associated with him and be able to call him a friend."
You talked about the first phone call you got from Ozzie. When you got here, how soon did you realize that this Baltimore thing could work out very well? (Joe Platania)
(REED) "Donnie Henderson was my DB coach, and I knew we had a great defense coming into it. I knew the tradition that was here. I had met Ray [Lewis] prior to all that coming up here in May on my first visit with the organization. Honestly, when I first saw it, the facility wasn't bigger than my high school facility. I was like, 'Man, this is interesting, a pro team living like this.' But I knew immediately that we could be successful because Donnie Henderson would not allow me to think otherwise. He grabbed me my rookie year and had me coming to those rookie meetings at 7:30 in the morning before anyone else got here. Even when I started to understand the defense, he still made me come. We just had that tradition feel here like you [have] at certain colleges. You just have that feel that you just don't get other places. Like I said, I went to other places. I know how it is out there to some degree. You can tell when guys come here and play here, they leave here knowing that they were part of something. It's not like you were here and it was a job. You're part of something when you come to Baltimore."
[Bennie Thompson] was talking about how you would study so much and put a lot into it. How much do you feel like that was a key to your success and how do you explain things where it was just instinct? (Aaron Wilson)
(REED) "It helped tremendously because your opponent is studying you. I remember one time being in Indianapolis, and they killed us up there. I hate to put my boy on the spot, but they were running a play that I'd seen them run years before on Chris McAlister, that pump-and-go. That's the same thing that they used to do to me, it's no different. Ray [Lewis] helped me with that big-time, as far as knowing your opponent and studying tape. We used to study football tape in the offseason before we even came to camp. We already had our opponents in our division broken down, so when it got to in-season, it was easy. That was the part for us that we understood helps you make plays. Me and Lardarius [Webb] talk about that all the time. You have to put that study in. If you don't put the study in, you're going out there really unprepared. You can't just rely on what the coach is going to give you. The coach is going to give you everything that they see from their perspective. You have to get it from your perspective, then put those things together. That's the reason we have the coaches/players meetings on Wednesdays, so we're on the same page. It helps me not to guess out there on the field as people thought I was playing football. It's hard to guess out there. You have to know and believe and trust it. So that's what it was. It helped me trust my abilities when I was out there on the football field."
You said before that you felt like you wanted to play a few more years. How tough is it to say goodbye to the sport? (Jamison Hensley)
(REED) "It's tough, man. I'm retiring; I'm not hanging my cleats up yet. I'll still workout. When coach [Harbaugh] first saw me, he said 'You look like you still could go!' I'm like 'Look like I still could go?' But I'll still work out. Training is a part of life. It's always been a part of life. It's something I always understood. I'm in the recovery stage, you could say, right now, but still working out, training and doing the things I was doing to be on the football field, because that's what gives me joy. Plus I train guys in the offseason. I might have to work out with Lardarius [Webb] one day, you never know. That's just a part of it."
Now that you're under contract, are you going to try to convince coach Harbaugh to keep you off the retired list? (Ryan Mink)
(REED) "I tried to get three days. Ozzie only gave me one. I'm like, 'Ozzie, we need to negotiate this a little bit. Let me get three days, or maybe even one year!' *(laughter) *I'm actually still available. Shoot, signing that contract, knowing that this was where it started, and I knew this was where it was going to end, because I never intended on leaving this organization once I came here, and I tried to play like that and give the same things back to my teammates that they were pouring out to me."
Talk about the relationship between you and Ray Lewis and how you were able to gel as a rookie and how it just clicked year-in and year out (Bill West)
(REED) "It was just Mufasa and Simba. (laughter) I was just a young pup and a little brother coming from Miami, so that was already a natural attachment there. I can remember times just studying and staying at Ray's house, because it was late and we were just watching film and just talking about life, and making the smart decision not to drive home while you're tired. That relationship with Ray, the countless hours of working out, those things [I'm] going to hold on to for life. Those things you give back to other kids. Still to this day, we still talk. That's always going to be there. Ray made my job easy. Ray made a lot of our jobs easy. Playing with him was like no other. I'm sure anybody who played the game would love to play with the great ones, and I'm honored to say that I played with him."
Timetable-wise, when did this day start to sink [in] that you were edging towards 100 percent being done? (Morgan Adsit)
(REED) "I honestly thought about it on [the anniversary of] the day I was drafted – April 20, 2002. I was thinking about it April 20 this year, and I was sitting at home and I was going to call, and [friend/business associate Glenn Younes] stopped me from doing it because of the whole 'things behind 4/20.' I was like 'Dude, that's the day I got drafted. Who cares about that stuff?' But anyway, on the 26th of [April], I'm sitting in the basement in my house, and I'm reading this book and thinking about all the things that have been transpiring in Baltimore and not knowing what's going to happen the next day. I woke up that morning, and I was on the way to my workout and I called Kevin Byrne, and I told him that I was going to retire. I just felt it in my spirit the night before, and that day was also my son's birthday. Once everything transpired here in Baltimore … It just felt right. Just like it felt when I walked in the doors [the first time]. It felt like home. I just knew it in my heart of hearts that it was time to come home to retire. Like I said, I'll still wear my cleats, but it just felt right to do it. I'm in a place where I'm trying to help teammates out, help guys out, help youngsters out. We're in a place where we need to be giving back to our youngsters. Now that I have that time, I've been doing it more, and it just feels right. And I'm trying to get my golf game together. I've been doing that a lot, which just makes it more clear to me." (laughter)
At the top, Ozzie [Newsome] talked about how he looks forward to being with you in Canton someday. Is that something you think about? (Garrett Downing)
(REED) "Now, yes. Now you think about it, but I never thought about Hall of Fame or making it to the Hall of Fame. I just wanted to be a great football player for my teammates. I was just studying and doing all that so that we could be our best. As everybody knows, this is a team sport, but an individual business. As an individual, I had to make sure I was taking care of my business. In all the years I've been here, I watched Ozzie. I learned from Ozzie. I talked to Ozzie. I watched Ozzie work out. This is a Hall of Famer himself, and every day he still was working out. I'm like, 'Wow, if Ozzie is working out, we need to be pushing a little bit more.' And then he came out and watched practice. That was the one thing that really drove me, watching my elders who were above me, and taking that guidance from them – sometimes without even words. It was just the organization that made you want to give your all."
What are your thoughts on the Hall of Fame now? (Ryan Mink)
(REED) "One day. You know, one day, I guess I'll be there. When I go, everybody who was my teammate and helped me to make those plays, my mentors, they go with me. Those are the people who are the Hall of Famers. I just was the face, kind of like the head coach is for the organization, and the quarterback is. You have so many people behind the scenes who help you to do things and to achieve things that people don't talk about. It's not about me when I go to the Hall of Fame, if ever that happens, if God willing I'm here to see that day."
What are your plans, as far as other things you want to do? You mentioned staying in shape and working with guys. You've done Showtime. What do you plan to do? (Aaron Wilson)
(REED) "Years before, you probably heard me say that I was born to play football. That's one thing I've learned over the years, that I'm going to be around football. Football is in my blood, it's in my heart, it's in my family. So, I'm going to be around football. Whether I'm coaching, I don't know – at any level. Right now I'm coaching flag football for four-year-olds and seven-year-olds, and it doesn't want to make you be a coach. *(laughter) *But it's fun; we have a lot of fun out there, and I'm going to be doing a lot of things. Right now, it's about spending time with family, building my foundation up, doing the things we do in the community, and making myself available to the young guys as I have. I'm trying to get the word out to these young guys about taking care of themselves, and how to handle themselves in the NFL being a professional. I think we need guidance with that in the league, so however I can help with that, hopefully that will be something that you see me doing."
You mentioned a book that you were reading the night before you made your decision that influenced you. What was the book and how did it move you? (Ryan Mink)
(REED) "It's called 'Uneven Lies.' It's by [Pete McDaniel]. It had a lot of good words of wisdom in there that you can take and walk into life with. I've been watching news for some time now, just watching TV. A lot of people are struggling in the world. It's time for these young kids … I'm not going to say for me to pass the torch and let them have it, but let them do their thing and for me to give it to them from a different perspective. That book has so many profound words in it that were really just hitting me at the moment. I would advise kids to pick it up. There's so much history there. We have a lot of history in our country that is pushed away and hidden from us [about] how it was created. The one thing that you can pick up from that book is that we, as a country, regardless of race or whatever, have worked together to build it together. And the only way for us to survive is together. That's the only way that we're going to be able to accomplish whatever we want to accomplish. If it's in the community, the community has to work together as a team, as a community. Same thing [for us] as a city. Regardless of what was going on the outside of us as a team and this organization in 2012, coach Pees told us [this] a lot, Ozzie, coach Harbaugh told us, all the coaches, and we all bought into it, and even to this day I'm sure they're still saying it: 'Ignore the noise.' You're going to have noise around you, no matter what it may be or how it comes to you. Whether it's coaches or players, whether it's police or people in the neighborhood, whatever it may be, you're going to have noise. [I'm] not saying everybody is bad and not saying everybody is good. You've got to know and decipher for yourself. We all know what's right and wrong. We all know right and wrong. That's it in a nutshell. We've got to work together, man."
How important is it to athletes and younger guys to be able to start a foundation and be able to give back to cities like Baltimore and throughout the world? (Bill West)
(REED) "That's just about being together. That's what we should do as athletes. Even if you don't have your own foundation, make sure you support somebody else's foundation. Support your teammates. How many teammates came to those fitness days that you don't know about? The Bobby Raineys, the guys who fought hard, the Albert McClellans, the guys who you really didn't hear about or didn't know about as much. [But also] Ray Lewis. All those guys, everybody supported each other. That's what made us such a great team, such a great organization. Everybody supports each other. Ozzie is coming. Dick Cass is coming. We're going to the events that the organization has as a foundation. All of that works together. Us, as players being in the community, it helps tremendously [to be involved]. Even when you make mistakes, you still need to go back and teach those kids not to do the things we do. My message to kids is to do as we say, not as we do. We're going to give you as much as we can, hopefully positive. Take the positive things; I must say that too. But that's what it's about. We all are one community. We all work together. We all need to be back in the community. Even if you're not an athlete, you need to be in the community. Go back into the community and help somebody. Talk to somebody, talk to those kids, because it's the kids that are the ones that are our future."
John, coming in here as a first-time head coach, what did you learn from a guy like Ed Reed who had been here and was one of the established veterans? (Luke Jones)
(HARBAUGH) "Watching him work, for one thing. You're around great players, but it's not too often that you're around guys that you know, just by the eye test, that they're Hall of Famers, the first time you lay eyes on them. I'd seen him play; we played against him when he was playing special teams early on over the years. So we had that kind of relationship. We were just trying to block him and figure out where he was going to be on returns, so we had a little bit to talk about. But I learned football from him. I learned life from him. There were conversations and just watching him live his life and raise his son and talk about Cover 2, whatever it might have been day to day. I learned to be a better person."
Ozzie, when you guys were in the draft that year, you had a lot of guys go up before you. What are your thoughts now sitting here today how fortunate it was that it did transpire that you were able to pick him at No. 24? (Aaron Wilson)
(NEWSOME) "It was interesting. One of the players that [was announced] during the draft was a guy that we were trying to trade up to get, and the team wouldn't make the trade with us. So therefore, we had to stay and pick. It came down to, as Steve [Bisciotti] has said many times, between Ed and a couple of corners. It was unanimous in the room that Ed Reed was the player that we needed, but also that he was the best player on the board at that point, and he proved us right."
Your whole career here as a Raven, you spent working with the kids at Booker T. Washington Middle School, a school that is in a community that is less fortunate than most. And I haven't seen other athletes do this, but you stuck with that school throughout your career and even after you left. My question to you is why? (Booker T. Washington Representative)
(REED) "I'm from a community not far from New Orleans, Louisiana, and a lot of things that happened here in Baltimore, I've seen. I've been a part of some things. I was one of those kids at Booker T. when I first went over there. James Trapp took me and showed me the large program that he had instilled [in the school]. I knew the kids and the community needed resources. If I could be one resource, that's what I wanted to be, helping any way I can, whether it's putting locks on the lockers or whatever it may be, [such as] Fitness Day and giving tests to the kids to see if we can help them with their health. Giving them words of encouragement to not worry about or think about the things that are going on around them. And to get one letter back from a kid who graduated, thanking you for just coming by and caring, that meant so much. I know those kids in Baltimore. I don't know all of them, but they don't have the resources. I've been a part of Booker T. Washington since I've been here. And before I left, I was a part of it 11 years. In those 11 years, I've seen – we've seen – seven or eight principals through one school. I'm in there giving speeches in tears when no media is there. We didn't have media coverage. We had [some] Baltimore media coming, but it wasn't showing what needs to be shown. I'm just a part of Booker T. because I know that there's one kid that wants that push. There are many kids that [need] the push, but there's one kid that wants the push. And if we can help one kid, we've done our job. You can't weed out everybody because of two or three bad apples. You've got to be around for the people who want the help. I just knew and know that people need resources, and those kids just need a push. They just need some guidance. Like I said, any way I was able to help, we wanted to, because I didn't have it all growing up. My dad did his best to provide for us. Seeing those kids, knowing when I was growing up, if I was one of those kids growing up in those situations, I would want somebody to come through here and help us. I had a mentor hit me in my chest to tell me what I needed to be doing as far as school is concerned, and that's what we need."
Quarterbacks always talk about how tough you are to figure out. I was curious about the one or two quarterbacks that were toughest for you to figure out, and also I know you're modest, but is there any game or play or moment in your career that stands out in your career as something special for you? (Cliff Brown)
(REED) "I loved playing against all quarterbacks. *(laughter) *All of them were tough until you get into the game. I walked into every game with respect for all quarterbacks. Philip Rivers was always tough to go against. Tom Brady was always a tough one – him and Peyton [Manning]. Going against those guys and the teams that they had, they were always tough to compete against. Every quarterback in Cleveland, I loved. *(laughter) *Cincinnati, too. Pittsburgh was always a tough team to play against with Ben Roethlisberger up there, because he was not always in the pocket. You had to be a little bit more disciplined going against those guys. Those guys taught me so much about myself and helped me to explain things to my teammates and what we needed to look for to accomplish our goal. Playing against those guys, the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, the Brett Favres, it was awesome competing against those guys. I don't have one play that really sticks out to me. I was asked that question earlier, and I pointed out the play that Cary Williams [made] in the AFC Championship Game before going to the Super Bowl. I told Cary to bring us home, bring us to the Super Bowl, and the next play, Tom Brady threw him the ball. So I'm like, 'You're still doing this. You're still studying, still knowing where they're going to throw the ball.' That play stuck out to me, because that was the one that carried us over the hump. That was the play that solidified, and I think we knew that it was over. We were going to the 'ship [Super Bowl]."
When you were watching the video right before we started, what kind of thoughts came to mind? Was it like you reliving it or was it just like you've seen these things so many times? (Aaron Wilson)
*(REED) *"I just think about those plays. I remember those plays and remember those moments. It does bring back memories. It almost gives you chills. It gives me chills; it motivates me a little bit, because like I said, I still train. [There is] just pure excitement when I look at the highlights. I'm still kind of a hard critic on myself. I saw the Miami one and I thought 'Ahh, you should have scored, should have stayed behind your blocks!' It's just the natural coach in me to look at it that way. It's fun to see."
Ozzie, you mentioned draft day in 2002, and Steve Bisciotti has told the Lito Sheppard story a few times. But even with the bigger spotlight the draft gets now, do you think people understand fully that a decision made on a whim against a ticking clock with just a group of guys in a room can change a franchise for a long time to come, especially when you end up with a guy like Ed? (Joe Platania)
(NEWSOME) "Yes, and when New England ends up with a guy like Tom Brady, and Indy ends up with a guy like Peyton Manning and also Andrew Luck. The decisions are right in the moment, but the process and time that it takes you to get to that critical point is a long time and a lot of hours. So when you get to that one final moment to make that decision, it's a lot of work and a lot of people standing behind you when you do it, so it makes that decision really easy to do. When they come on the other side and they become players like Ed and Brady and other players – Ray [Lewis], Jonathan [Ogden], and you can just name names, Jimmy [Smith], Lardarius [Webb] and Asa [Jackson], because they're all in here … [Matt] Stover – then again I don't think I was working in personnel when Stover was coming up. *(laughter) *But it's so much work that goes in, and when you make that decision, you're making that decision understanding the process that it's gone through."
John, quarterbacks and coaches that I've talked to almost talk about Ed with fear. Can you talk about that from your perspective being on the other side of it? (Albert Breer)
(HARBAUGH) "The thing about Ed that they were probably talking about is that you just can't be sure where he was going to be. And I say that in a good way. It wasn't like he was just back there guessing and taking chances, because you'd take advantage of that, because a pattern would probably occur. But Ed knew what he was doing and why he was doing it. And he also knew what he had done in previous games, so he knew what they were looking at. So that's it, plus the amazing range and ball skills. We've been looking at this for the draft. Nobody has had, that I've seen, Ed Reed's range in combination with the ball skills to be such a playmaker. That's very rare."
Did you always know what he was doing? (Albert Breer)
(HARBAUGH) "When he told me later, yes. (laughter) I was happy to hear about it."