There is a long-standing joke around Gillette Stadium: If you ever want to see Bill Belichick gush, ask him about Ravens safety Ed Reed. And it's not even a joke among media members - Tom Brady once quipped that Belichick was going to kidnap Reed and make him his son, "Ed Belichick."
The 34-year-old Reed is slated to become a free agent after this season, and assuming he wants to keep playing - he's wrestled with the idea in recent years - it's almost impossible to think Belichick wouldn't make a run at signing the object of his affection, though he could have stiff competition from Chuck Pagano, who left his job as Balitmore's defensive coordinator before the 2012 season to become head coach in Indianapolis.
Asked what kind of relationship he has with Belichick, Reed said on Wednesday it isn't much, but he truly respects Belichick.
"Man, I have so much repsect for coach and what he's about: his discipline and his structure of what he has, just how he came about being a coach, military background and everything," Reed said. "I read his book ['Education of a Coach']. Just so much respect for coach - how could you not? You won championships... How could you not respect a man for what he's had or what he's done?"
During "A Football Life: Bill Belichick," the documentary that followed Belichick during the 2009 season and aired two years later, Belichick and Tom Brady are shown in Belichick's office as the Patriots are preparing to face Baltimore, both saying again and again how good Reed is and Brady talking about a play the offense could run, one aimed at putting Reed in no-man's land and unsure of where the quarterback might go with the ball.
Not only has Reed watched the documentary, other NFL teams apparently have, too.
"Everybody is running the same play that they talked about on me, I mean everybody is playing the same play. I can't put it no other way - they're running the same play!," Reed said, smiling. "Everybody, every team run the same play that they talked about on there. It's funny.
"But I just took it out of respect and they understand football and they understand players. Going against those guys is always great, playing against Coach Belichick and Tom over there."
Also on Wednesday, Reed clairified a remark that he made during Media Day Tuesday, when he said Junior Seau probably had no regrets.
"When I said I know he doesn't have any regrets, I was talking about football. Not the fact the man passed away and lost his family," Reed said. "People tend not to write everything, and that's the bad thing about our business. No disrespect to his family. I think the utmost of Mr. Seau and his family, man, with all due respect."