Ed Reed is my favorite NFL player.
Much more significantly, he is also now the NFL’s all-time leader in interception return yardage, with 1,497.
This milestone had been a long time coming for Reed. After closing to within 20 yards of former leader Rod Woodson (1,483) with 25 return yards in week 1 against Pittsburgh last year, Reed picked up only one interception over the duration of the 2011 regular season -an end-of-half end zone pick of the Bengals’ Andy Dalton, on which he was unable to add any return yards – and ended the year stuck on 1,463 interception return yards.
He also picked off two passes in the Ravens’ Divisional round playoff win over the Houston Texans, but was tackled immediately following each.
I had been patiently waiting for Reed to pick up those last 21 yards to pass Woodson. During his brief offseason retirement scare, I found myself a bit worried that it would ever happen.
On Monday night, he once again found himself on the receiving end of an errant Dalton pass. This time, though, he was able to capitalize.
Reed fittingly returned his first interception of the 2012 season 34 yards for a touchdown, becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in interception return yardage in the process. The score also helped seal the win for Baltimore, giving the Ravens a 31-13 lead late in the third quarter of a game they would ultimately win going away, 44-13.
It was the safety’s seventh career interception return for touchdown and his third against the Bengals. He also has a punt return touchdown against Cincinnati, which came in the 2007 Monday Night opener.
Reed adds it to his already impressive resume, which includes records for the longest interception return for touchdown (107 yards), and most career games with multiple interceptions (11).
Number 20 is also the only player in NFL history to record touchdowns on an interception return, a blocked punt return, a fumble recovery, and a punt return.
Ed moved into 10th on the NFL’s all-time interception leader list with his 58th.
It was a great way to celebrate his 34th birthday, which is today (September 11). I could go on and on about Ed Reed, but I’ll cut it off here. Whenever he does decide to finally hang up his cleats, a bust in Canton, Ohio surely awaits.
Everybody say it with me now: