Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 9/11/12
BALTIMORE - Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed turned 34 today. Browns and Bengals fans wish he'd hurry up and turn 64. Even then, there's no guarantee he'll quit terrorizing their teams. Reed's interception of a bad Andy Dalton pass Monday night and subsequent touchdown return not only signaled the start of a Ravens rout over the Bengals, it made Reed the NFL's all-time leader in interception return yardage with 1,497 on 58 career interceptions. Yes, Reed is closing in on a mile's worth of interception return yardage in a career that will eventually see his Hall of Fame bust reside in another Ohio city, Canton. For now, he's a constant shadow looming over the football teams Cleveland and Cincinnati. His Monday night interception was the 10th of his career vs. the Bengals, tying his most against one team. The Browns, clearly, are the other. Reed has 356 career interception yards and three touchdowns vs. the Browns. He has 337 interception yards, three interception return touchdowns and one punt-return touchdown against the Bengals. Reed has 14 career touchdowns. Considering that he plays defense and has never been a full-time punt returner, 14 is a jaw-dropping number. His list of individual accomplishments is long and wide-reaching. He's been to eight Pro Bowls, won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, lateraled his 50th career interception to a teammate who went on to score a touchdown and blocked the first two punts in Ravens franchise history his rookie year, returning one for a score. He's picked off Peyton and Eli Manning but not Archie, though you get the feeling he would have if given the opportunity. Granted, the one he got off Dalton on Monday was an easy one, a poor throw that floated well over the intended receiver's head. Reed just has a knack for not only being in the right place at the time, but taking the ball as far as he can go the other way after he gets it. The Browns were driving to win in Baltimore in 2004 and were just a few yards from pulling a nationally-televised, Sunday-night upset. That's when tight end Aaron Shea got clobbered in the middle of the field by Ray Lewis, no flag was thrown, and Jeff Garcia's pass popped off of Shea's hands and into the air. Of course Reed grabbed it. Of course, 106 yards later he was in the other end zone, the new owner of the NFL record for longest interception return, and the game was over. For a little perspective on how Reed finds the ball and what he does with it once it's secured, he had 358 total interception return yards on nine interceptions in 2004. Only two Ravens receivers that year had more than 358 receiving yards, and they didn't beat Reed by much. Travis Taylor led the team with 421 yards, and Kevin Johnson was next with 373. He matched that single-season high with another nine interceptions in 2008. He had eight in 2010, and though he's publicly contemplated retirement on two different occasions -- maybe a contract negotiation ploy as much as anything else, though he has lingering neck and shoulder issues-- he's missed just 10 games since the start of the 2006 season, all in 2009 and 2010. Reed's knack for the big play against the Browns is especially frustrating to Browns fans because he played for Butch Davis at the University of Miami, and Davis was the Browns' head coach and draft room honcho in 2002. Davis picked running back William Green at No. 16, eight picks before the Ravens got Reed. Call it a hunch, but Reed might address that in his Hall of Fame induction speech. He might also mention that he was the second safety -- Roy Williams went to Dallas at No. 8 -- and fourth defensive back taken that year. His college teammate, cornerback Philip Buchanon, went to the Raiders the pick after the Browns took Green. The Bengals took offensive tackle Levi Jones at No. 10 in 2002, then addressed safety in the second round with Lamont Thompson, who went on to play in 13 games as a rookie but was cut before the following season when Marvin Lewis came on as coach. Roy Williams had one interception in 16 games in 2009-10 for the Bengals, if that's any consolation. Reed had two interceptions of Jon Kitna in his first game vs. the Bengals on Nov. 10, 2002, meaning Lewis isn't the only Bengals coach who's stood on the opposite sideline not enjoying Reed's work. The Bengals went 2-14 in 2002, Dick LeBeau's final season as head coach. Reed picked off Dalton last year in the first Ravens-Bengals game to add a third Bengals quarterback to his list; Kitna and Carson Palmer are the others. Kelly Holcomb was the first Browns quarterback he intercepted in 2002. He's since added Garcia, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson and Colt McCoy to that list. He picked Holcomb and Anderson three times apiece and got McCoy twice in the same game in 2010. His 34-yard return against the Bengals Monday night was the eighth interception return touchdown of his career. He only had three interceptions last year, the lowest total of his career when he's played the full 16 games. Reed's current contract expires at the end of this season. The Browns and Bengals can only hope he signs somewhere in the NFC. Or in Siberia. Maybe the neck and shoulder will hold up, maybe they won't. That remains to be seen. What is certain is that, soon enough, he'll get a first-ballot trip to Canton.
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