Ed Reed was that dude when he played safety in the NFL. Reed made the Pro Bowl nine times, earned first-team All-Pro honors on five occasions, took home the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2004, and came up with 64 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, and nine defensive touchdowns over 12 seasons. There was no doubt Reed was Canton-bound as soon as his career was over, so it came as no surprise when he added first-ballot Hall of Famer to his list of accomplishments in 2019.
With that being said, when Reed talks about greatness in the secondary, we’re listening.
Reed was asked which players he played with or saw play deserve future Hall of Fame honors, he rattled off Sean Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Eric Berry, and Earl Thomas as being among the best to do it or still doing it. Then he mentioned a playmaker at the safety position who Bears fans hold in high esteem.
“I like Eddie Jackson coming up, too, man,” Reed said in an appearance on the Yahoo! Sports NFL Podcast. “He continues to do the things he’s doing in Chicago. He’s representing right. But it’s about being consistent, you know, at the end of the day. He’s still young, he’s only one second year in. I know that’s early, but I like where he’s moving.”
This isn’t the first time Jackson has caught Reed’s eye. Back in January, Reed raved about Jackson and the Bears defense — which he showed some real respect by calling it his favorite. In short, getting that love from Reed is impressive stuff. And it’s not just because Reed is a Hall of Fame player. Remember, Reed was a position coach for a brief period after his playing career ended. To make a good impression on a legend who also has the perspective of the coach seems meaningful.
As Reed said, it is a bit too early to start up the Hall of Fame banter when it comes to Jackson. But two years into the league, Jackson has 12 takeaways (8 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries) and five defensive touchdowns in 30 games over two years. Those are eye-opening stats, to be sure. Jackson’s presence in the Bears secondary is a big reason why Chicago’s defense figures to be great again, even if it takes a step back. And if Jackson’s star continues to rise, Reed won’t be the only one talking about No. 39’s greatness.
For more Reed, this podcast featuring the Best Safety of All-Time should be a treat.
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) August 2, 2019