Ed Reed will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 even though the ball-hawking safety retired last week.
Reed's eligibility begins five full seasons after being on a team's active roster and not when he officially retires, according to Joe Horrigan, the executive vice president of the Hall of Fame. His status isn't affected by the one-day contract signed last week, when he retired with the Baltimore Ravens.
Reed is looking to break a trend among Hall of Fame voters. Over the last 35 seasons, no man who played his entire NFL career at safety has been elected to the Hall, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will be eligible for the Class of 2020 after last playing in 2014.
Reed said he never thought about the Hall of Fame during his 11-year career, but he acknowledges thinking about it now.
"You know, one day, I guess I’ll be there," he said.
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who coached Reed at the University of Miami and the Ravens, believes Reed is a first-ballot Hall of Fameer.
"One of the most instinctive guys that I’ve been around," Pagano said, via ESPN Colts reporter Mike Wells. "He’s a special, special player and he’s left a great legacy.”
Other first-time nominees for the Class of 2019 include tight end Tony Gonzalez, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker London Fletcher.
The Ravens have one drafted player in the Hall of Fame -- offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. Linebacker Ray Lewis, who is eligible for the Class of 2018, will undoubtedly be the next.
If Lewis and Reed join Ogden in the Hall of Fame as expected, that would mean the Ravens drafted three Hall of Fame players in their first seven years of existence.