Q&A with Ed Reed

Editor's note: In between his daily training sessions at the University of Miami, Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Ed Reed took a few minutes out of his busy schedule Thursday afternoon to discuss his upcoming rookie season. The Ravens selected the All-American safety with the 24th overall selection of the first round after he helped lead the Hurricanes to the national championship last season.

Reed finished his career in Coral Gables, Fla., with a school-record 21 interceptions (topping the old mark of 19 held by former Detroit Lions safety Bennie Blades), and set Miami career records for pass deflections with 54 and tackles by a defensive back with 289.

Reed was a consensus All-American choice, a Jim Thorpe Award finalist and a semi-finalist for the Bronko Najurski Award.

Against Boston College last season, along with his seven tackles, he demanded a lateral after defensive tackle Matt Walters' interception and sprinted 80 yards for a touchdown.

In the BCS title game victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Reed recorded nine tackles and deflected a pass.

The Ravens plan on utilizing Reed as one of three new starters in a revamped secondary that only returns veteran cornerback Chris McAlister.

Here is the transcript of the interview:

RAVENS INSIDER: "What sort of impact do you expect to make as a rookie starter? Obviously, quarterbacks and receivers will hope to exploit your lack of experience at the professional level."

REED: "I hope it will be a great one for me, and the entire team. I'm coming off of a great season at the University of Miami, and I just hope to help my new team win."

RAVENS INSIDER: "What motivates you? What drives you to spend so much time studying film and lifting weights?"

REED: "I think it's just the fact that I love to play the game, and I'm going to put my heart into it and be the best player I can to do my job for the team?"

RAVENS INSIDER: "Are you equally excited and nervous about what's ahead of you?"

REED: "I'm excited. I wouldn't say I'm nervous because I've been playing football all of my life. It's just a game to me. The fact that I love it makes it mean even more to me. I will probably be nervous before my first real game (Sept. 8 at Carolina) with the different atmosphere and the different athletes I'll be playing with."

RAVENS INSIDER: "Do you expect to be as aggressive in run support as you were for the Hurricanes, or do you plan on being more of a stay-at-home type to guard the middle of the field from deep passes?"

REED: "I'm going to be patient and smart. That's something I had to do at Miami, be patient with my role and let my defensive linemen and linebackers do their job. I'm a play-maker, and I plan to make plays wherever I line up.

"I'm not sure with the switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 if I'll be as involved with the running plays. I plan to be a big factor. I'm out there to hit and make tackles."

RAVENS INSIDER: "Ray Lewis is a former Miami star who became an instant starter and leader of the Ravens defense as a rookie when the Ravens drafted him with the 26th pick of the first round in 1996. Do you see some parallels between you two in terms of both being asked to immediately contribute as rookies?"

REED: "I do. Ray was a high pick from Miami and became an instant success. With both of us coming from Miami, our situations are very similar. All the guys who came from Florida, Travis Taylor, Peter Boulware, Ray Lewis, have had much success with the Ravens. I'm looking to do the same thing as all the guys from Florida."

RAVENS INSIDER: "What do you prefer more, delivering a vicious blow or intercepting a pass?"

REED: "I have that offensive background. I played quarterback and running back in high school, and I love having the ball in my hands. At the same time, I'm a defensive player. I love the big hits. I also love the excitement. I would say I'd go for the interception over the big hit most every time."

RAVENS INSIDER: "How often do people ask you about that play against Boston College last season when you clamored for the lineman to lateral to you so you could score?"

REED: "A lot. That's a classic play for me."

RAVENS INSIDER: "Have your workout habits changed significantly? Your combine numbers went something like this: 4.4 to 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 345-pound bench press, 33-inch vertical leap and you were listed at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds."

REED: "I've been doing the same workouts with my strength coach. It's a long season and I try not to wear out my body. I have put on some weight, about 5-6 pounds. I might be able to max out in the bench press at about 350 pounds. I can run a 4.4. Once you're on the field, it's a totally different speed as far as running. You have to be quick as well as fast.

"I'm not the fastest guy, which everyone knows, but I've kept up with some fast guys like Phillip Buchanon and Mike Rumph. If you cut the tape on, you'll see me keeping up with everyone, no problem at all."

RAVENS INSIDER: "Have people been respectful about not intruding on your life and asking you for money with your new status as an NFL athlete?"

REED: "My family and everyone have been very respectful about knowing that what I've accomplished. They know it's mine. They don't ask me for anything. If my dad or mom needs anything, they know where to come. I'm all for family."

RAVENS INSIDER: "In talking with your father, you learn pretty quickly that he's a hard-working person, in his 24th year as a shipyard welder. He says he was a pretty good athlete as a high school running back. He also said he used to coach you when you were much younger. How big an influence has he been on you?"

REED: "He used to push me so hard, but I had fun with it. My dad was never hard on me. He's such a dedicated person. Whatever he does, he sticks with it and he tried to instill that in me, in our whole family. I think he still likes what he does. He needs to take a rest. He needs a good vacation."

RAVENS INSIDER: "How have the contract negotiations been progressing between your agent, Leigh Steinberg, and the Ravens' front office? Have they made an initial contract proposal?" 

REED: "I actually just got a call from him. I got to get him a fax number so he can send me the Ravens' first contract proposal. Camp is right around the corner. I hope it happens by next week.

"I don't know much about how negotiations go. Leigh is real cool. I met him and we clicked from there. I like having him as a part of the team. He knows I want to get the business done right away so I can play football."

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