Bills coach Rex Ryan has always called Ed Reed one of the finest players he ever taught, but will their pairing pay off in Buffalo?
Ryan hired Reed in January as his assistant defensive backs coach, telling reporters that he believes the five-time All-Pro safety has the chance for greatness in his new profession.
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"When we had him his last year with the Jets (in 2013), he was the pied piper," Ryan said at last week's NFL Annual Meeting, per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. "They all followed him and they all learned the game. And that's why I know this guy's going to be a great coach.
"I would not be shocked if Ed Reed ends up being a head coach within five years. That's how quick this dude's going to rise. Teaching guys how to study tape, how to get things, playing the game."
Ryan is no stranger to hyperbole, but Reed was always seen as one of the NFL's hardest-working and most intelligent defensive game-changers. Ryan saw Reed's very best during their long run together with the Ravens, as did Colts coach Chuck Pagano:
"He studied so dang much, on game day, there was no thinking involved," Pagano told NFL Media's Albert Breer in 2015.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also frequently lauded Reed for his instincts and unmatched grasp of the safety position, saying in 2012: "He's the best weak safety I've seen since I've been in the National Football League in my career. He's outstanding at pretty much everything. The list goes on and on with him. It's just a question of pretty much anything he's out there for, he's good at."
Head coaches in the NFL emerge from all sorts of backgrounds and pathways toward the top of their profession. Why not the best safety to ever play the game?