No, let Ed be Ed

FACEOFF

faceoff: should the ravens rein in ed reed's risky returns?

January 01, 2009|By David Steele

Muhammad Ali fought with his hands lowered. In doing so, he broke a cardinal rule of boxing. He also did the Ali Shuffle. Again, it went against all logic. He's crazy, people said about him (among other things). Doing that unnecessary showboating, taking those pointless risks - he'll never get away with it.

For the first 17 years or so, he did.

Yes, it's borderline blasphemous to mention Ali and Ed Reed in the same sentence. But how much longer are we going to wait for that moment of Armageddon when one of his laterals lands in the hands of an opposing player, who turns it into a touchdown in the final seconds to beat the Ravens and destroy their season? Saying "I told you so" at long last, is that going to be that satisfying?

More satisfying than all the times he has been on the throwing or receiving end of one of those hair-raising exchanges, the ones that made a big play into a bigger one, or a huge play into a touchdown the other way? The ratio in his favor so far is insanely high. It might be time to admit that Reed is not as reckless as he seems. Just as Ali didn't just hold those hands low on a whim.

Reed creates more moments like that than any other active player, more than all but a handful of players who ever lived. It's a dimension that can't be taught or duplicated, so suppressing it makes no sense. It's what Ed Reed does. It's who he is.

To demand that he hide that light under a bushel of excessive caution is to tell him to stop being Ed Reed. And that would have been like telling Ali to start fighting more like Jerry Quarry.

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