Ed Reed Makes Hall of Fame: Who You Rooting For? DHS

One of the best to ever do it. Ed Reed was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend after an illustrious and legendary NFL career. A sculpture of his face will sit alongside many other legends that came before him.

This one means a little more to me than most who get selected because we share the same side of the Mississippi River of St. Charles Parish in little Louisiana. We also share the same alma mater, Destrehan High School.

I was no supreme athlete like many other graduates of Destrehan, not even close. But I did get to witness maybe the best four year run in our school’s history as the team won two state championships (both undefeated) and lost a total of four games in the four years I attended.

I watched many classmates and even some friends reach the college level as a result of the success, which is always awesome to see.

I loved my time at Destrehan. Some of the best people I know today were either teachers or friends of mine 10 years ago. I have been lucky enough to keep many of those people close over the years.

As ready as a I was to graduate at the time, I would go back in a heartbeat. High School was fun. I wasn’t the most popular, most athletic, most liked or any of that. I was just your run of the mill student who had a solid group of friends, liked to drink and did what I could to get by. But damn it, I had a great time.

When you grow up in a small town like Destrehan, word travels faster than the speed of light and everyone knows one another. You hear about the sense of community in places like this. For Destrehan, you don’t just hear it. You feel it.

When Ed Reed took the stage over the weekend to accept the award, it was a shining example of what our community is. (Cris Collinsworth voice) Now here’s a guy who legitimately never forgot where he came from, where he grew up, the hurdles he jumped through and everything in between to earn the spot he is in today.

Although I have never met him personally like many from the area have, it speaks volumes when I have never heard a single negative remark about him. You saw DHS faculty in the crowd because of the man he is and always has been.

During his Hall of Fame speech, one quote that stands out to me is…

“It was never about accolades for me. It was about opportunity. To be better as a man. To provide for my family. At the end of the day, love for the game is all that it was about.”

For people like Reed, the career isn’t a validation of him as a person nor is it a punchline for him.

I was talking about that with a buddy who is good friends with a couple of other River Parish NFL standouts. He said similar words that the people he knows from the NFL just look at it as a job they had and that is it. Unless someone else brings it up in conversation, they won’t.

Reed is that guy too. Through his football camp to building public parks where he grew up to all the other wonderful things he has done off the field, the man is much more complex and deeper than football. That is purely awesome. He is truly a great representation of what a good majority of our parish is.

Since he won’t talk about football himself and he would much rather talk about the other side of life, I damn sure will talk about his career.

He was absolutely unbelievable to watch. He makes every other ball hawking safety look like child’s play.

No one reinvented the centerfield safety quite like him. It wasn’t just the fact that he could make QBs fear throwing downfield. It is the fact that QBs had a high a chance of throwing a touchdown the other way no matter where he picked the ball. He made the NFL football look like backyard football.

I miss watching that man play on Sundays. That is for sure. Here comes the part where I rank him among the other greats…

Top 5 Safeties of All Time

Honorable Mentions: Eric Weddle, Kam Chancellor, John Lynch, Darren Sharper

5. Rodney Harrison – San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots – 1994-2008

Harrison was a do it all playmaker who has the Super Bowl hardware after joining the Patriots already elite defense in the latter part of his career. The Patriots used him almost like a linebacker in a lot of ways sending him after QBs and letting him make plays in the offensive backfield while still patrolling the defensive backfield at times.

Career Stats (Season High):
1,197 Tackles (138)
30.5 Sacks (6.0)
40 Tackles for Loss (10)
34 Interceptions (6)
78 Pass Breakups (17)
15 Forced Fumbles (3)
9 Fumble Recoveries (3)
4 Touchdowns (3)

4. Brian Dawkins – Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos – 1996-2011

I have never actually looked at the numbers of all the great safeties. When I started typing out Dawkins numbers, I was salivating. He was one of my favorite players growing up because he was THE guy for the Eagles defense for so many years. It was one of the best defenses in the league. He was a total game changer and playmaker in both the run and pass much like Harrison. However, he really had a knack for creating turnovers in both phases. I didn’t realize how high the volume was.

Career Stats (Season High):
1,131 Tackles (116)
26.0 Sacks (3.5)
59 Tackles For Loss (11)
37 Interceptions (4)
153 Pass Breakups (24)
36 Forced Fumbles (6)
19 Fumble Recoveries (4)
4 Touchdowns (1)

3. Ronnie Lott – San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets – 1981-1994

The big ball hawk before Ed Reed. Although I never watched him play, he came up in an era with some great QBs like Dan Marino where the league really started shifting to become more passer friendly. You didn’t want to throw on San Fran when he was patrolling back there. One of the most impressive feats of Lott is that he was dominant from start to finish.

Careers Stats (Season High):
1,146 Tackles (123)
8.5 Sacks (2.0)
n/a Tackles For Loss
63 Interceptions (10)
n/a Pass Breakups 
16 Forced Fumbles (4)
17 Fumble Recoveries (4)
5 Touchdowns (3)

2. Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers – 2003-2014

Unfortunately, Polamalu was plagued by injuries for a large portion of his career. When healthy, he was one of the most gritty and instinctive defensive players in the league. He was much like Dawkins in that sense of being great in the box as well as being a centerfield type safety. He was the motor of the Pittsburgh Defense in the latter part of the 2000s and early part of the next decade.

Career Stats (Season High):
778 Tackles (96)
12.0 Sacks (3.0)
56 Tackles for Loss (7)
32 Interceptions (7)
107 Pass Breakups (17)
14 Forced Fumbles (5)
7 Fumble Recoveries (2)
5 Touchdowns (1)

1. Ed Reed – Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, New York Jets – 2002-2013

As stated in the column, there was just something so different about Reed. He brought the element of backyard football to the highest level. Because of the way he patrolled centerfield, I am not sure we will ever see a safety quite like him again. He finished his career with 13 touchdowns and 12 of those came on defense. That is unheard of. He finished with over 1,500 return yards on defense. Again, unheard of. He got the ball and you HAD to worry he was giving the Ravens a 6 point swing. Although he was a ball hawk, he was good enough to play in the box for run support. But why take away the element of scoring a defensive touchdown? Reed is the GOAT because of it.

Career Stats (Season High): 
643 Tackles (85)
6.0 Sacks (2.0)
34 Tackles for Loss (8)
64 Interceptions (9)
139 Pass Breakups (17)
11 Forced Fumbles (3)
13 Fumble Recovers (3)
13 Touchdowns (3)

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