ENGLEWOOD – This is the Ravens’ 10th postseason appearance since 2000. Only the Colts and Patriots have more Through most of them, future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have been near-constants; Reed joined in 2002 and holds a streak of six consecutive All-Pro appearances, while Lewis is the last remaining original Raven from their 1996 squad and has defined the franchise as no other player has.
The respect for both throughout the league is virtually universal — especially since many of the league’s current players grew up idolizing them.
Reed, in particular, is a model for Broncos safety Rahim Moore.
“The first time I watched him was (for the University of Miami) against Florida State his junior year,” Moore said. “He was an All-American. That’s when I really didn’t know what it meant. But when I started watching him, that’s when I started playing defense and safety. As I watched him more and more, and got older, I also watched Reggie Nelson. Those two guys really inspired me.”
So much that when Moore finally got to meet Reed last month before the Broncos’ 34-17 win at Baltimore, he had a star-struck request: he wanted Reed’s jersey. The veteran obliged.
“That made my day. I started crying; I was that happy,” Moore said.
And the certain Hall of Famer had a request for Moore: he wanted his jersey as a souvenir.
“I was thrilled! I was like, ‘Why do you want mine?’” Moore said.
Undoubtedly, it was a sign of respect for the next generation at his position — many of which were inspired by Reed’s play, which earned him Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2004 and has kept him at the league’s forefront ever since.
“I mean, he inspired me to play safety,” Moore said. “That’s why I try to make sure my movements are like his, my breaks, my ball skills, I try to emulate as much as I can about him, because he’s that great. He’s the best safety ever to play.”
LET’S GET PHYSICAL: The Broncos donned pads for Tuesday’s practice, and the result was one of the most spirited sessions of the year.
“It was very much needed. It was great, high-intensity. You would have thought it was a game out there (Tuesday),” safety Moore said. “A lot of pads popping, a lot of guys making plays. We actually came out ready to play.”
NFL mandates limiting full-pad practices mean the Broncos will throttle down the contact for their Wednesday and Thursday sessions, but the work Tuesday was as much about setting a tone for the days that follow as it was about preparing for the Ravens.
“It’s that time to get back into game shape and get ready, and get physical,” said cornerback Chris Harris. “We know it’s going to be a physical game. (Tuesday) everybody’s ready, hungry and excited.”
Of course, it was less physical for some than others.
“I’m a DB. For me, I’m just covering,” Harris said, smiling. “But on the inside, they were banging a lot today. I tried to stay out of the way of that and just cover. But guys were getting after it. Very physical. We’re ready to play.”