Where's Reed? Looking to make an INT for Ravens

Reed led the NFL with nine interceptions during the regular season and added two more in Baltimore's 27-9 playoff win over Miami last Sunday. He returned the first pickoff 64 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season.

Four touchdowns? By a safety? That equals the number scored by former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis for the Cleveland Browns in 2008.

Reed played quarterback in high school and still has a knack for finding the end zone. He has 12 career touchdowns, and is the only player in NFL history to score on a punt return, a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery.

"It's just natural at this point," Reed said Tuesday. "You want to score. We talk about it on defense, we do it in practice."

His first interception Sunday against Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington came on an over-the-shoulder catch that conjured memories of Willie Mays hauling in a deep fly ball in the 1954 World Series.

"Why would you throw the ball up like that when you know Ed Reed is in the middle of the field?" former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders said.

"Not too many safeties make that play," Pennington said.

Ed Reed does.

"The challenge dealing with Reed is simply to know where he is and to understand that," said Jeff Fisher, whose Tennessee Titans host the Ravens on Saturday in the second round of the playoffs. "You saw on Sunday. You may get the sense that they're all-out blitzing to one side and you've got a home run, and you throw it and he's over the top. When in doubt, don't put it up down the field late because Ed's probably going to make a play."

Titans quarterback Kerry Collins will be careful not to make the same mistake.

"Ed Reed is doing this year what he's been doing his whole career," Collins said. "He finds the ball, is extremely smart, knows your tendencies and plays to them. You've always got to know where he is."

Sometimes, even that's not good enough. Reed's second interception against Miami came when he anticipated the throw, stepped up and made the catch to kill a potential scoring drive.

"He's up 20-3, and he totally leaves his spot and shows up in a place you would never imagine him being in," Pennington said. "That's why he's so special."

This has been an incredible year for Reed in a manner that transcends his gaudy numbers. He missed the entire preseason with a nerve impingement around his neck and shoulder, yet managed to play in all 16 games.

It's scary to imagine how good he would be at 100 percent. Even when he's not making an interception, his presence makes a standout defense even better.

Ravens cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington don't have to play wide receivers nearly so tight because they know Reed will be behind them to pick up the slack.

"We all study and watch film together, and we're all on the same page," Rolle said. "When he sees something on film and then it comes in the game, he remembers and goes and makes the play."

The 30-year-old Reed finished third behind Pittsburgh's James Harrison and Dallas' DeMarcus Ware in balloting for AP Defensive Player of the Year. To his teammates, however, he's a landslide No. 1.

"We know who the NFL Defensive Player of the Year is. It's got to be Ed Reed," Washington said. "The dude is amazing. He can cover anything in the planet. If it's in the air, he's going to go get it. He can play the ball from sideline to sideline. If there's a better player out there, I need to see him."

Reed won the award in 2004, and may get another before he retires. And when he does quit football, he just might try making those over-the-shoulder catches on the baseball diamond.

"I'd like to give baseball a try," he said.

Like former NBA start Michael Jordan, who attempted to work his way up through the minor leagues?

"Hopefully not the minors, man. I'm a professional player right now," Reed said. "Not that I'd be better than Mike, but with a little practice I could be effective in the outfield, steal bases, pinch hit."

Reed still has some football to play before thinking about a career change. He's never won a Super Bowl, and that's far more important than personal accomplishments.

"You can't worry about the accolades and the trophies," he said. "If you like trophies, there's a trophy store down the street. You can buy one.

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