A town defined by its quirkiness, neighborhoods and its ethnicity.
We are blue collar and hard working and we admire an overachiever, those lunch pale guys who just seem to get the most out of their talents. Players like Donovan, Siragusa and Gregg come to mind.
We are underdogs and we like it that way. We are mutts – kind and loyal, even if HBO’s The Wire doesn’t portray us quite that way.
We love our teams and our players, particularly those who have played their entire careers in Baltimore.
Up until yesterday, Ed Reed was one of those players.
Some fans loyal to Reed the player will take the All-World safety’s decision as a slap in the face. They’ll turn their backs on him and take Reed’s choice personally.
Some will say it’s all about money and they’ll label him “Ed GREEDY”.
Still others will say thank you, wish Reed well until he visits M&T Bank Stadium next season when the Texans come to town.
Ed Reed – a Houston Texan.
That flows about as well as baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Subaru.
And just wait until you see Ed in the Texans’ colors. It will be akin to seeing Johnny Unitas in those powder blues of the San Diego Chargers. It will be ugly and it will hurt.
That said it is understandable. It’s the nature of the salary cap beast.
From my vantage point, the Ravens’ brass seemed content watching Reed play the market, with hopes that it would end just like Ray Lewis’ shopping spree ended 4 years ago. Perhaps they believed that they could come in under the Texans’ offer and it would all work out.
Surely Reed wouldn’t leave behind a legacy and not complete his time in the NFL as a career-long Raven, would he?
We now know the answer.
If the Ravens were genuinely interested in retaining Reed, they would have done so and not played bargaining roulette with him. But they did and here we sit as defending Super Bowl Champions now missing 7 defensive starters, two of which are certain Hall of Famers.
Some have suggested that Reed could be the team’s defensive leader now that Ray Lewis has retired. Don’t be so sure.
Reed is a great guy but at times moody and unpredictable. Mix in a return at a price that he believes is drastically substandard and what is left is hardly a recipe for a happy player and a solid leader particularly if the season takes a dip at some point.
When a leader is needed most, might Reed have pulled out that Cybil routine we’ve seen often here in Baltimore?
I recall vividly Reed shouting just before the start of practice one day during Training Camp last summer.
“I hate my job, but I love football.”
Interesting words that no doubt tell a story – one that isn’t necessarily good.
At this point, it’s all water under the bridge and we’ll never know for sure if Ed could have become the Ravens new general.
And perhaps that’s best.
We can remember Ed for all that he did; for the Sundays he made that much better; for the plays that electrified us all; for putting danger in the word “safety”.
And, for all those Sundays, when the sounds of REEEEEEEEEEEED were deafening at M&T Bank Stadium.
There will never be another Raven like Ed Reed.
All the best to you Ed, and thanks for these memories.
(Special thanks to John Mann for the awesome image)