Ed Reed is still crazy about football, dangerous in coverage and capable of turning a game on its ear. For all the zigging and zagging that Ed Reed does, the safety knew it would take a straight line to get what he wanted this time. After a turbulent offseason when Reed considered retirement, fell in love with his lawn, and did mind-boggling but thoroughly entertaining radio interviews while taking his young son to the driving range, the mercurial safety was back in the end zone at M&T Bank Stadium one more time Monday night. Where else would he rather be? But for once, after picking off a pass, Reed took it straight to the house. As soon as the ball sailed into his hands, Reed, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, and each of the 71,064 screaming fans knew that Reed was going to score. The question was whether he would cut across the field for fun or lateral it to one of his teammates. Heck, the guy can't even walk in a straight line in the locker room; he meanders from his locker to the exit, stopping to chat with random teammates who are close to being in his path. But for once, Reed ran straight down the left sideline -- and straight into the record books, too. With the interception return for the touchdown that shattered the will of the Bengals, Reed passed Rod Woodson to move into first all-time with 1,497 career interception return yards. "Yeah, I wasn't going to let the O-linemen catch me. That's why I dove. You know, it strained my hamstring trying to dive. You know, I'm 34 in two hours. Father Time does catch up with you," said Reed, whose birthday is Tuesday and whose hamstring is, in his words, "good." Linebacker Ray Lewis, who also stiff-armed Father Time while tallying 14 tackles and a sack in the win, called Reed's returns "poetry." Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who appeared to be agitated when Reed skipped a mandatory minicamp in June, hyped up the free safety as "a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer -- without question." Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who has set his sights on breaking Reed's record, said he sees "legendary" and "greatness" when he watches Reed play. "[I] know how aggressive we are," said Reed, who wore an Art Modell t-shirt. "It gives you a chance to make plays. I got my hands on one before that -- actually two -- you know, and it's like you're talking to yourself. It's like, 'it's coming, it's coming, it's coming, just be patient.'" Ah, patience. Easy for him to say considering he can test patience with the best of them. But after mulling over retirement this spring, Reed showed Monday that his heart still bleeds purple. Yes, the bearded ballhawk is back, though in his mind, he never really went anywhere.
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