Ed Reed: Reaching greatness depends on company you keep, attitude


Ed Reed arrived onto the Pro Football Hall of Fame stage with his trademark hat, sunglasses and a cigar.

He then won the night with an entertaining 36-minute, 2-second speech.

Reed, who played 11 of his 12 seasons with the Ravens, said he wrote his speech while he was waiting through four other speeches.

He named even his barbers but quipped, “I know I’ve probably forgotten a lot of people” when finally ending.

Reed remembered the victims and survivors of Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, as well as those in Gilroy, California, on July 28.

“You know mental illness is one of the biggest problems in our world,” Reed said. “It really kills. So I’ve got to say prayers to the families that have experienced the mass shootings the last couple of days. Just in general across this country, it’s something we really need to address.”

Reed grew up in a “crime-infested” neighborhood with drugs. He said it made him mature quickly.

Reed, who was born in St. Rose, Louisiana, and went to Destrehan high school, credited a police officer with being one of the first to believe in him. The unnamed officer told Reed one night that he was driving him home.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, don’t do that,'” Reed said. “Take me to jail because my mamma is home. I remember him saying, ‘Son, I know you. I see you around here playing sports. You don’t need to be hanging with those other kids and those other guys because you have something.’

“I would say to the point of what we have going on in our society, don’t aggravate, or should I say push an officer to have to do something they shouldn’t have to do.”

Reed ended his speech by encouraging everyone to encourage everyone else.

“I’ll leave you with this: Because I never compared myself to any other player, I won’t start doing that now. And you shouldn’t compare yourself to anybody else,” Reed said. “And you doggone right shouldn’t worry about people who don’t like you. Everyone has their own greatness and reaching your greatness depends on your environment and your structure — the company you keep — and your attitude. There will be good and bad, right and wrong. Your reaction, your choice, good or bad, has consequences that affects you and those around you. No matter what encourage those around you and yourself. I stayed encouraged. That guy there, no matter what, was focused. He stayed encouraged. There were some hard times. There were a lot of tears. Even now. I tell you, each one of you, stay encouraged. Encourage each other. Help somebody. We should. We’re supposed to. That’s what being a human is about, leaving this place better than when we got here. That’s all it’s about y’all.”

Reed made nine Pro Bowls and six times was voted All-Pro. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

15 responses to “Ed Reed: Reaching greatness depends on company you keep, attitude

  1. The speech was all over the place, kind of like Reed was all over the field. But if you don’t take every single word literally, and can read between the lines.. there was a lot of great stuff in there.

  2. That may have been the greatest HOF speech I’ve ever seen. What a blessing it was to get to watch him and Brian Dawkins revolutionize the Safety position at the same time together for so many years.

  3. Ed Reed may not be the greatest safety to play the game, but he’s certainly in the conversation. All you need to know about him was that when the Patriots played the Ravens, on Tom Brady’s arm band the very first thing on there was “find Ed Reed.”

  4. Ed Reed was the best all around safety of all-time. Sure tackler, ball-hawk and a game changer with a nose for the end zone. Congrads Ed!

  5. Can’t wait to see Ed’s coaching career continue. He has so much to offer players ON and OFF the field.

    On a lighter note. No one on earth could play a homeless man better than Ed…. he just has the look!!

  6. I’m a Patriots fan, and I have huge respect for Ed Reed as a player and a human being. He was one of those guys that made Pats fans really nervous when we played the Ravens.

  7. nflhistorybuff68 says:
    August 4, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Reed was indeed great. Ronnie Lott is still, the greatest defensive player the NFL has ever had…Regardless of position


    Lawrence Taylor??

  8. Yes Lott over Taylor…Taylor was a great rusher, period…Lott had more tackles than Taylor…Lott had 63 Interceptions, Taylor 9…Lott had 18 Fumble recoveries, Taylor had 9, though Taylor had alot of strip sack fumbles…Lott had 7 total defensive TDs to Taylor’s 5…And, of course Lott has 4 SBs to Taylor’s 2, including his rookie season…

    Unlike Reed, Lott excelled at CB or LB…

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