Prior to joining his team for his first professional practice, Reed came onto the field 15 minutes early to sign as many autographs as he could. He then proceeded to get toasted on a 50-yard touchdown strike while trying to cover Brandon Stokley.
While participating in the all too famous fumble recovery drill, Reed dropped the ball a plethora of times. He also had to work with the third string unit during the duration of the morning practice, catching the guffaws of his teammates. After practice concluded in the afternoon, Reed wasn't even close to being finished with his day at camp. Brian Billick and Donnie Henderson made sure that Reed ran extra gassers after camp concluded in the afternoon. And let's not forget that Reed still had to sign more autographs at days end.
And then the worst part of his day came at approximately 6:05 p.m. Reed sat down to execute his first interview on camera as a full fledged member of the Baltimore Ravens. Two minutes into it, a pie was plunked on Reed's face, courtesy of his roommate Chris McAlister. In the eyes of many long-standing veterans in the NFL, this was the perfect way to initiate a rookie to the club. The only that was missing was Reed taking a painful dip in the cold tub. But that will come soon.
But Reed won't have too many days like this. In another year, Reed will be the guy hazing his rookie teammates by tying them onto the goal post because they refused to sing a song at dinner. And in time, Reed will become the leader of a young, hungry secondary headed back to eminence.
Selected as the 24th pick in last April's draft, Reed has now become a vital piece of the Ravens' future. It's not hard to see why the Ravens are expecting big things from him. Reed possesses numerous physical attributes you could want from a safety. He hits like a ram, covers a lot of ground, is smooth in his backpedal and is one of the most instinctive players you will see playing at his position. Reed was so versatile as a safety at Miami (Fl.), that he was able to play both positions during his college career, and did so at a high level.
If you need him to tackle a running back in the flat one on one, he'll do it. If you need him to tip a pass that is headed for an open receiver, he'll do that too. But besides the physical abilities, Reed also provides a presence on the field as a leader.
Much like another former Miami Hurricane, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed stepped into the Miami huddle right away in his career and took full control of the defense. He was the guy his teammates turned to for inspiration when they needed to make one play to end the game.
Oh, and they made plays. During his junior and senior seasons, Reed was one of the many standouts on a defense that was among the greatest of all-time. When Dan Morgan departed for the NFL in 2001, the Hurricanes became Reed's team. He was named co-defensive player of the year from the Big East conference, and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award as senior last year. Not to mention, Reed helped guide the Hurricanes to a national championship title.
And now, when Reed is asked if he was disappointed that a rebuilding squad in Baltimore drafted him, he just shrugs the question off like he shrugs off a play action fake made by an opposing QB. He's been there and done that with Hurricanes, where he saw Miami successfully rebuild themselves into national champion years after they were placed on probation.
For the Ravens, they hope that Ed Reed can help them return to prominence too.