OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Surrounded by former teammates and coaches, Ed Reed officially announced his retirement in a heartfelt 45-minute news conference at the Baltimore Ravens' facility Thursday.
Reed decided to call it quits after 17 months of not playing in the NFL and three years removed from suiting up for the Ravens. He signed a one-day contract with the Ravens and will be inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor on Nov. 22.
"This is where it started and I knew this is where it was going to end," Reed said. "Home is here. Home has always been in Baltimore. My heart is always been in Baltimore. It will always be in Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium."
Reed, 36, acknowledged that it's tough to walk away from the game. He previously said he wanted to play for a couple of more years, but he had gone unsigned after two offseasons.
As he was signing his contract to retire as a Raven, Reed playfully tried to get a longer deal out of general manager Ozzie Newsome.
"You know, I'm actually still available," Reed said with a smile.
The news conference began with a 90-second highlight montage that featured several of Reed's biggest interceptions and weaving interception returns. Reed holds the NFL records for longest interception return (108 yards against the Eagles in 2008) and most interception return yards (1,590).
Newsome said Reed's impact went beyond the numbers. He remembers sitting in the press box with other team officials during clutch moments when everyone was thinking the same thing.
"Whenever there was a play to be made, it's Ed Reed's time," Newsome said.
Reed is regarded as one of the most influential leaders in the Ravens' locker room and in the Baltimore community. During his news conference, he urged people and corporations to get more involved in the city in the wake of this month's riots.
Throughout his 11-year career with the Ravens, he brought 26 kids from the city to every home game, set up a fitness program at a city middle school and funded football programs in the city.
"I hope that I did more than what I was supposed to as a Raven, bigger than any contract could explain as a player," Reed said.
As a player, he will be remembered as one of the game's most instinctual playmakers. His ability to watch hours of film and recall it on the field kept him one step ahead of offenses.
He then added a little jab at the AFC North rivals that he dominated over the years by saying, "Every quarterback in Cleveland I loved ... Cincinnati, too."
Reed's farewell news conference was attended by several former teammates like Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Matt Stover as well as defensive coordinator Dean Pees and special-teams coach Jerry Rosburg.
Reed is eligible for the Hall of Fame in five years and wants to bring all of his mentors and teammates who helped him along the way to Canton.
"Those are the people who are the Hall of Famers," he said. "You have so many people behind the scenes that helps you to achieve things. It's not about me when I go to the Hall of Fame if ever that happens."