ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- When former NFL safety Ed Reed answered a call in January fromBuffalo Bills Rex Ryan offering him a job on his coaching staff, Reed faced opposition from an unlikely source: his 8-year old son, Edward, who is a New England Patriots fan.
Ryan helped sell Reed's son on his dad's move to Buffalo by sending along some Bills gear, but the question remained: Why is the son of Reed, a former adversary of the Patriots during his Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Baltimore Ravens, a fan of rival New England?
Speaking to reporters Thursday for the first time since accepting the position as the Bills' assistant defensive backs coach, Reed explained.
"His mom is from Boston, though she's not a Patriots fan," Reed said. "His grandmother lives up there, and the kid likes champions, man. What can I say? I grew up in New Orleans, I loved my home [town] team, but I was a San Francisco [49ers] fan. I was a Joe [Montana] fan. So that's just how it is.
"When you're a kid and you're watching sports growing up, who's winning those championships? You tend to gravitate toward winners. Which is a good thing. It helps you from a work ethic standpoint, who you're watching. Who wants to follow losers? Just saying."
It was later pointed out to Reed that he joined a franchise that hasn't won recently. In fact, the Bills have missed the playoffs the past 16 consecutive seasons, the longest drought among the four major North American professional sports leagues.
"It's still a winning organization, though," Reed said. "If you're around here and you're around the people, you know they're winners in their heart, and they know it. Even the fan base. The fan base even knows it."
They've also been tormented by the Patriots, who own a 28-4 record against the Bills since 2000. The associated David-vs.-Goliath mentality has built up anticipation for Bills games against New England in recent seasons, but Reed wants fans in the region to put future regular-season contests in perspective.
"It's just that, we can't win one game, and OK, now it's the Super Bowl," he said. "It has to be the process. What I've come to understand as a coach is that there's a process. ... That's what everybody has to buy into. We're not going to win a Super Bowl overnight. It's not going to be win two games and yes, we beat New England, and now we're going to the Super Bowl. No, that's not the case. It has to be the process. One game at a time, one quarter at a time of the season. Let's see how it goes from there."
As for Reed's son, he's getting used to life with his dad wearing a different shade of blue and red from the Patriots'.
"He's adjusting, man," the elder Reed said Thursday. "When he came here, he left me some notes on the board. He'll draw me some Bills stuff when I come home. It's the best. But in his heart, I know."