Former Ravens LB: Ed Reed on a Different ‘Level’ Than Polamalu


Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Troy Polamalu during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in January 2015.

This weekend came fighting words from former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott. Appearing on The Lefkoe Show, host Adam Lefkoe–making reference to former Ravens safety Ed Reed–asked: “When you are around greatness like that, is it hard to hear other people called ‘great’?”

“It kind of is,” Scott said. “It’s different levels to the greatness, right? And I think it’s different wings in the Hall of Fame…. I think that coming up Troy Polamalu is going to go into the Hall of Fame and he’s very deserving of going to the Hall of Fame. But to mention Troy Polamalu in the same breath as Ed Reed—to me, it’s disrespectful.”

Scott went on to try to make a few technical arguments as to why Reed was better. His argument boiled down to saying: Troy Polamalu had little in the way of specific responsibilities; he simply roamed around as he saw fit and it was free safety Ryan Clark’s job to cover for Polamalu and “make him right.” By contrast, Ed Reed had to play the whole field.

Asked if he thought there was anyone close to Ed Reed in terms of GOAT status, Scott highlighted former Raiders/Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, as well as former Steelers/49ers/Raiders/Ravens great Rod Woodson—“guys who were able to bait people,” said Scott.

Steelers LB Vince Williams Responded

Scott’s opinion didn’t sit well with current Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, who responded with a tweet storm. For starters, Williams said:

“Why would you take a player that is so disruptive in the blitz and run game and put him in the post? Pretty sure [former Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick [LeBeau] knew this the numbers speak for themselves.”

Continuing on, Williams added:

“And if you don’t think Troy had the ball skills to be a deep half or strictly just a post player then your [sic] just an ass.”

Finally, Williams wrapped things up by saying:

“Troy was the most intuitive football player I’ve ever been on the field with. I really believe God occasionally whispered the play to him pre snap.”

Former Steelers Safety Ryan Clark Weighed In, Too

Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark—who played alongside Polamalu for a number of years—felt compelled to weigh in too, saying he didn’t agree with Scott’s assessment, tweeting:

“He and Ed are two of the best to ever do it. Just different. Ed did some things Troy didn’t & vice versa. [Both] 1st ballot HOFamers….”

As you probably know, Polamalu was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020, but his enshrinement ceremony is now scheduled to take place on August 7, 2021, with the postponement a result of the pandemic. Ed Reed was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 2019.

Bart Scott played linebacker for the Ravens between 2002 and 2008, then finished his NFL career playing four seasons for the New York Jets.

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