Ed Reed was not one of the best in the game when he retired in 2015. But the longtime Baltimore Ravens safety was certainly one of the best in the game — if not the best ever — when he was in his prime.
Success isn’t all about the stats and personal accomplishments, but his list is pretty impressive: Super Bowl champion, five-time First Team All-Pro, 64 interceptions, NFL-record 1,590 return yards on interceptions, nine Pro Bowl selections, and the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He had a great career; one that should be highly regarded. Some would say being named the fourth-best safety of all-time by Gil Brandt, a former Dallas Cowboys executive and senior analyst for NFL.com, is highly regarded enough.
However, Reed made it clear he disagrees with a short and straightforward comment on Twitter.
— 20 Coach Reed (@TwentyER) July 5, 2017
Is Reed being unreasonable? Is Brandt wrong?
Well, Brandt can’t be “wrong” since the list is his opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, if Brandt were to ask some coaches Reed faced, they would tell him he is wrong.
Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said this about Reed in 2011: “A first-ballot Hall of Famer, in my opinion. The best safety that’s ever played.”
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has called Reed, “the best weak[-side] safety I’ve seen since I’ve been in the National Football League in my career.”
Just like Brandt is entitled to his opinion on Reed, Ryan and Belichick are entitled to their opinions. At the same time, Reed has the right to think whatever he wishes about Brandt’s opinion.
Is he wrong? No. But neither is Brandt.