Reed, who last played in 2013, is in his first year of eligibility along with tight end Tony Gonzalez, linebacker London Fletcher and cornerback Champ Bailey. The Modern Era nominees will be narrowed to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January.
A five-time first-team All-Pro over his 11 seasons in Baltimore, Reed is considered a shoo-in to join fellow Ravens Jonathan Ogden, who was inducted in 2013, and Ray Lewis, who was enshrined in August, in Canton, Ohio, next year.
A first-round draft pick out of Miami in 2002, Reed led the NFL in interceptions in 2004, 2008 and 2010 and ranks seventh all time in league history in picks (64). He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens, after which he spent his final season with the Houston Texans and New York Jets.
At his induction, Lewis said there was “a trust and loyalty” between him and Reed “that will never die. And, man, I’m telling you, you talk about a gift to play with as a player, Ed Reed for my career was a gift.”
“It wasn’t about accolades,” Reed said recently, “but showing that I was bred and predestined to be one of best football players to come into the league — and, every Sunday, to help my team to win.”