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STS*: Ed Reed on Punt Block? Interesting...

Posted Nov 16, 2013

Maybe it was the two hours' of sleep talking, maybe it was a future Hall of Famer saying what he was supposed to say.

Whatever it was, Ed Reed said his role with the Jets is wide open.

"If Coach wants me to start, I'll start," Reed said after his arrival in Green & White and his first practice on Thursday. "If he wants me to play on sub, dime, whatever it may be, I'll do that. If he wants me to rush kicks, if he wants me to run on kickoff, I'll do that. I'm here to help the team win."

Rush kicks, eh?

"Yeah, maybe," special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica mused Thursday about working Reed into his different units. "He just got here so we’ve got to kind of figure it out. I know he’s got a great history in doing a handful of things special-teams-wise, whether it’s blocking punts or being a returner. Historically he’s been a dynamic player. It’s another arrow in the quiver. If there’s some way we can work it in there we might do that."

Reed hasn't done a whole lot of teams in the latter stages of his career, but his work there is definitely a shiny part of his superlative 12-year NFL career.

In Baltimore's 2007 season opener at Cincinnati, for example, he reeled off a 63-yard punt-return TD early in the fourth quarter that temporarily gave the Ravens a 20-19 lead in a 27-20 loss. For his career he has 30 returns for a 6.8-yard average, not eyebrow-raising but good in a pinch if he's needed behind Jeremy Kerley (not practicing this week with an elbow injury), Josh Cribbs and Kyle Wilson.

But the one area where Reed really enhanced his reputation as a playmaker was as a punt blocker in his first two Baltimore seasons.

In 2002 and '03 he had four blocked punts combined for the Ravens. Three of those blocks he returned himself for touchdowns, all in Ravens wins.

Does that sound like a lot? It should. Since 1996, Reed's three return TDs off of blocked kicks are the most in the league. No one else has more than one.

And on all three of those returns, Reed blocked the punt, recovered it and returned it for the score. To put that in perspective, in our franchise history there have been only three instances where one player went for the BP trifecta — punt block, recover, return for TD. Those players were Steve Tannen at Buffalo in 1970, Chris Burkett vs. Miami in '91, and David Bowens at New England in '07.

Is a similar special teams spectacular a lot to expect of Ed Reed at 35, six seasons after his only punt-return TD, 10 years after his most recent blocked-punt-return score? Yes, it is. But if Ed Reed is put out on the flank of our punt block team and told to get his hand on the ball before it gets off the foot of, say, the Bills' Brian Moorman on Sunday, we won't be surprised if he does just that.

It may all be biological for Reed, who captured his mindset this way: "I just love the game. I have a big heart for it. My heart is pigskin and probably a football."

*Special Teams Saturday

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