Ed Reed officially retired Thursday at the Ravens' facility, signing a final one-day contract.
The writing was on the wall for Reed, who was unable to find a suitor in 2014. Though his career comes to an end, what he accomplished during his time in a Ravens uniform will forever be remembered by those that follow this game. He leaves as one of the best to ever play his position and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Reed was more than just a physical talent on the field for the Ravens. He understood the game better than just about anybody to ever play in an NFL secondary. During Reed's retirement press conference, Ravens coach John Harbaugh offered a story showcasing the instincts Reed had as a football player:
"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 ... 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.”
Reed answered, "No."
“The corner thought he had help," Harbaugh continued. "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."
That was only one example of Reed's greatness. There are countless others anyone could give — players, coaches, front office members.
Reed made big play after big play in a Ravens uniform. And on Nov. 22, during the Rams game at M&T Bank Stadium, Reed will be placed in the Ravens' Ring of Honor.
"Home has always been in Baltimore," Reed said. "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."