Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Grambling State earned plaudits for hiring former NFL head coach Hue Jackson as its next head coach as the storied HBCU program aims to return the team to prominence and reinvest in its future. However, according to sources, the school took an outside-the-box approach with its search and initially offered the position to Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed.

Reed, a Louisiana native and one of the best and most charismatic football players of his era, was Grambling's top choice despite limited coaching experience. Reed has spent time on the Bills coaching staff in the past and is currently working as chief of staff for the University of Miami football program, where he starred during the program's golden days. Grambling presented a comprehensive package to Reed, sources said, one he considered very seriously before ultimately deciding that the timing was not right for him.

Reed believed in the program's goals and future, with Grambling aiming to enjoy the kind of reversal that another HBCU, Jackson State, has enjoyed under Hall of Fame corner Deion Sanders, who also had minimal head coaching experience prior to making the jump. However, at the time of Grambling's approach, Reed was helping his alma mater navigate a tricky situation with its football program, with Miami recently hiring a new coach and AD, and the timing was also not great for his family. So, Reed declined the offer.

Head coaching is something Reed is open to at some point, according to those who know him well, and this may not be the last time he is approached. His ability to connect with youths is special, he would be a natural recruiter and Bill Belichick long lauded him as one of the best football minds he had encountered in an opposing player during his historic stint as a head coach. Reed was a first-ballot inductee to the Hall of Fame in 2019.