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Ed Reed to officially retire Thursday at Ravens' training complex

Former Ravens star free safety Ed Reed, one of the top defensive players in NFL history, will officially retire Thursday afternoon during a news conference at the team's training complex.

The Ravens announced the pending retirement of the nine-time Pro Bowl selection, confirming a Baltimore Sun report.

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The Ravens' news conference with Reed includes general manager Ozzie Newsome, team president Dick Cass and coach John Harbaugh.

Reed, who ranks sixth in NFL history in interceptions, is expected to be inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor as soon as this fall. He will be eligible to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in five years.

"Ed is a Hall of Famer, absolutely," retired former Ravens safety and assistant coach Bennie Thompson told The Sun. "Ed did some unique things that kind of changed the safety position. That's why I say he's a Hall of Famer. Ed would play on instinct. He knew the game so well."

Reed had a knack for baiting quarterbacks into thinking he was out of position only to break on the ball for interceptions at the last possible moment. Reed's legacy with the Ravens is as one of the most exciting players in franchise history. In NFL circles, Reed was regarded as a dynamic playmaker who transformed the free safety position into an impactful one.

"Ed studied so much film," Thompson said. "He knew what the other team was going to do. He knew that six-cut was coming because of how the wide receiver was lined up and, then, there he goes, interception. He knew that he was going to pick it off the whole time."

Reed was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, when he intercepted nine passes.

The Ravens have said previously that they want to honor Reed, but wanted him to be officially retired before they would take steps to do so. Reed and retired middle linebacker Ray Lewis are regarded as the two best defensive players in franchise history.

Reed, 36, hasn't played in the NFL since the 2013 season. The St. Rose, La., native helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII, intercepting San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during a victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It marked his final game with the Ravens.

Reed was a consensus All-American at the University of Miami. He was drafted in the first round by the Ravens in 2002 with the 24th overall pick.

He played 11 seasons for the Ravens. He played for the Houston Texans and New York Jets in 2013, but was out of the NFL last season and worked for Showtime on its "Inside the NFL" program.

Reed scored 13 touchdowns with the Ravens on three blocked punts, one punt return, two fumble returns and seven interception returns.

For his career, Reed had 64 interceptions, 643 tackles, 11 forced fumbles and six sacks.

Reed holds the NFL record with 1,590 interception return yards and has the record for longest interception return in NFL history. He had a 107-yard return for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 and a 106-yard touchdown return against the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He is the lone NFL player to score touchdowns off a blocked punt, punt return, interception and fumble recovery.

Reed intercepted nine passes in the playoffs, tying him for the most in NFL history with Ronnie Lott, Bill Simpson and Charlie Waters.

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Intense on the field, Reed was quick to laugh and joke with friends. He was also known for his dedication to the sport, studying game tape for countless hours.

Off the field, Reed became heavily involved in the community in Baltimore and back in Louisiana with football camps, charity events and Thanksgiving giveaways.

"I know him off the field and he wasn't a party animal," Thompson said. "He didn't stay out all night. He was a student of the game. He went home and studied, so he was already prepared when he came to work.

"Ed is a legit guy who's very genuine and cared about the game, his teammates and his coaches and the city of Baltimore. There won't be another player quite like Ed Reed."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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