MIAMI -- There are streaks of gray in his hair these days, and, at age 35, his best days are behind him.
But safety Ed Reed, playing in his alma mater's home stadium, proved again on Sunday that his reputation as a playmaker is well deserved. He helped the New York Jets keep the Miami Dolphins out of the playoffs with a 20-7 win at Sun Life Stadium.
In the third quarter, with the Jets clinging to a 14-7 lead, the former University of Miami star made a shoestring tackle on Dolphins receiver Rishard Matthews at New York’s 33 after a gain of 21 yards. That saved a touchdown. Three plays later, Jets rookie cornerback Dee Milliner grabbed an interception, adding more value to Reed’s tackle.
“I was just happy to get [Matthews] down,” Reed said. “I had his shin in my hand and just raised it up.”
With 4:12 left in the game and the Jets leading 17-7, Reed came up big again. Deflections have never been safe around Reed, and this carom off the hands of Dolphins receiver Marlon Moore was no different.
Reed grabbed the high bounce for his third interception as a Jet and returned it 17 yards. It was his 64th career interception.
“It’s always a good feeling to get a victory and an interception, [especially] the way the defense performed today,” Reed said.
Reed said he was pleased Rex Ryan will be returning as the Jets' coach next season.
“It’s well deserved,” Reed said. “[The coaching staff has] put in a lot of work. I’ve sat in on meetings and had conversations at night at 9:30 or 10 o’clock. Just the work they put in to have us prepared is awesome.”
Reed, who responded “Oh, yeah,” when asked if he would like to return next season, has taken a leadership role in mentoring Milliner.
“We sit next to each other in meetings,” Reed said. “I have seen a lot of football. To be teaching a guy, helping a guy, it helps you to grow as a person and as a player.
“It’s more hats off to him to take what I give him and understand how to be a professional.”
Milliner noted Reed’s vast experience and seemed grateful to learn from a player destined for the Hall of Fame.
“A lot of advice, man,” Milliner said when asked about his relationship with Reed. “He sees me at every meeting, comes by, talks to me, sits beside me. He keeps coaching me up.”