FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Throughout training camp, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn often invites former players to come to practice. So far this year, former Falcons' defensive end Patrick Kerney, former Jets' return specialist Leon Washington and former Ravens' safety Ed Reed have all made an appearance.
This isn't just for show, by the way. There's reason behind it.
Quinn finds significant value in providing his team with different voices in teaching moments. For example, giving players the opportunity to learn from a player like Reed. How did he view the play? How would he have approached things? Those are the conversations Quinn wants his players to be having.
"Sometimes hearing a different point of view from a guy that's done it, I think is really valuable," Quinn said. "We're real honored to have Ed with us today."
Free safety Ricardo Allen spent time with Reed during practice and gushed over the opportunity to learn from one of the best at his position.
"Just being around Ed -- probably the best safety in the league to ever play -- he's rangy, he's a middle field guy, he's a hitter, he did it all," Allen said. "And if you look at him, he's not the biggest guy around either. Just to have his presence around, I've never really been coached by a legend like that, I'm always coaching myself. So for me to really get some insight from and see what he's seeing on the field and he can help me take my game to the next level."
In his 12-year career, Reed recorded 64 interceptions. Creating more takeaways is an area the Falcons' defense has been focused on, so who better to learn from than Reed,
who ranks seventh on the list of most interceptions in NFL history.