The Baltimore Ravens drafted Ed Reed in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, the year after the franchise won its first Lombardi Trophy. He's getting a fresh start this year, right after the franchise won its second Lombardi, having recently signed a contract with the Houston Texans.
But he'll obviously never be anything other than a Raven in most folks' minds, including Reed's. And he pointed out as much in a full-page ad he took out in the Baltimore Sun in Sunday's edition.
"Ravens Nation, My eleven seasons in Baltimore were more than I would have ever imagined, which is why I have such deep love for you all. I will forever cherish my time with the Ravens and the chills that ran down my spine when I finally kissed the Lombardi Trophy," Reed's advertisement reads. "Special thanks to the City, Team, Organization and all the Fans! I'm going to miss being a part of this tremendous team and organization, but I'll always be Baltimore and my Foundation will remain in this community, this is not a goodbye, but a See You Soon.
"Thank you for everything Baltimore, God Bless you."
Also, via the Sun, comes a picture of the full ad taken out:
Reed will get a chance to hear the fans thank him back when the Texans return to Baltimore in 2012 (though we don't know when yet). And you have to think he'll be one of the rare athletes who gets zero boos from the crowd despite playing for the opposing team.
The future Hall of Fame safety embodies Baltimore football and even if he's going somewhere else, he'll always be thought of as a Raven.