Says Reed, "When I called Ray after winning [Defensive Player of the Year], he told me, 'Let's do it again.' We want to keep that award [in Baltimore]."
It's likely that Reed will one day succeed Lewis as the leader of the Ravens, but the young safety is in no hurry. For Reed it's all about respecting his elders, because "that's what you're supposed to do. Learning from people who might have a little more insight than you is a big part of leadership." In fact, Reed continues to speak almost daily with Hall, who is still generous with advice, and still calls Reed "her son."
Last December, Hall and her 24-year-old daughter, Leslie, were waiting for Reed outside M&T Bank Stadium after the Ravens' 37-14 win over the New York Giants when Leslie's cellphone chimed. It was Reed, who asked them to walk down the street, where he was waiting in his Range Rover. He was worried that fans would recognize him and delay their exit. "Who do you think you are?" Leslie said with a laugh. "You act like you're somebody special."
But when Jeanne and Leslie finally reached the SUV, they heard shrieks and screams behind them. Leslie whirled and saw several fans racing toward Reed's vehicle. A few minutes later, with the stadium in Reed's rearview mirror, Leslie reluctantly apologized. "I have to give you your props, Edward," she said. "You really have become pretty important after all."
? For Jeffri Chadiha's Inside the NFL, go to SI.com/chadiha.
The Best of the Rest
Ed Reed isn't the only young safety ringing bells in the NFL. These three game-breakers also made the Pro Bowl last year.
EAGLES, fourth season
In Lewis and Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia has the league's best starting duo at safety. Lewis is known as a big hitter, but he's improved his coverage skills. "He fits in with the aggressive mentality of their defense," says Giants running back Tiki Barber. "You rarely see him get beat over the top, and he does a good job of covering tight ends and making plays in the box."
STEELERS, third season