- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ed Reed slammed critics who argue he hasn’t played as well this year as in the past, saying anyone who watched the tapes would realize he isn't responsible for the Jets' losses.
“This is football, man,” said the Jets safety. “We in this locker room been playing football for a long time. Nobody’s perfect out here on the football field. You guys’ job is to critique, be critics; that’s what you do. That’s why you ask the controversial question, try to make it controversial. Then you trash people in the media. I could care less about that. Missed tackles happen.”
New York Jets
The 35-year-old defensive back said he’s seen some of the stories that say he is slower, that he can’t make the plays he once did.
“Even reading you guys' blogs, reading your comments, knowing half [of you] don’t know as much about football as you think, unless you come in the film room,” Reed said. “Don’t even know the schematic part, you can ask the question, but that don’t mean you’re an expert at what we do.
"It’s funny to me, reading it. Smile at it, laugh at it. But that’s your job. Some of your jobs you take it and tear people down, try to tear the team down. [You don’t] understand that it’s a team, and you’d rather point the finger at one individual.“
Reed is defensive as the curtain closes over a long, challenging season. After offseason hip surgery, Reed left his longtime home in Baltimore and signed a three-year, $15 million deal with a Houston team on which he never seemed to get traction.
“Been a long year, definitely not what I expected,” Reed said. “Expectations were high, regardless of surgery. You leave a great organization thinking that you’re going somewhere else to build something, thinking they had something, turns out different.”
Reed said he came to New York with a bag, two pairs of jeans and a shirt and reunited with coach Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator. But he didn’t change the narrative, continuing to struggle with the Jets after starting immediately.
“Ed is a prideful guy,” Ryan said, “and he’s probably never faced criticism in his life because of the player he is.”
Ryan said Reed is the player in the locker room that he expected to get and that he mentors younger players as well. But in terms of production, like tackles and picks? “Nah, not yet.”
“He’s not the Ed Reed of 10 years ago, but I’m happy we have him,” Ryan said. “Ed’s still pretty darn good, and he’s helped this football team more than just maybe what you see on the field.”
Reed, who is on a one-year deal in New York, said he would like to remain a Jet next season but said that would probably change if embattled coach Ryan isn’t with the team.
“Probably,” Reed said, “because it’s his scheme that stays. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be [here]. Great coach.”
Ryan clearly has his player's back as well. He explained that he sees the media as having a job to do, just like the players and coaches, but that it can be hard for players not to bristle when they see negative stories.
“This is a first-ballot Hall of Fame player,” Ryan said. “There’s some negative criticism. What do you expect? Twenty-five-year-old or 26-year-old Ed Reed back there? Well that’s not it, but this is still a good football player. Is he as good as he once was? No, but that list is really short.”
Reed doesn’t have the job security he enjoyed when he was at the top of Everest, as Ryan put it.
“Always been around free agents and wondered how they did it,” Reed said. “Definitely commend those guys for going through it because it’s challenging.”
Reed’s security expires in two weeks.
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