Former Baltimore Raven Ed Reed is widely considered the top safety of his generation, if not all-time. So when one NFL writer ranked him outside the top three in his all-time ranking, Reed thought it was a joke.

Longtime football writer Gil Brandt put together his ranking of the NFL’s all-time safeties and

Former Baltimore Raven Ed Reed is widely considered to be one of the top safeties of a generation, if not all-time. Yet, when one NFL writer ranked him outside the top three in his all-time ranking, Reed thought it was a joke.

the former defensive star at No. 4. If Reed is fourth best all-time, who ranks ahead of him? According to Brandt;

  1. Emlen Tunnell, who played for the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers from 1948 to 1961.
  2. Troy Polamalu, who was a fixture in the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and a two-time Super Bowl champion from 2003 through 2014.
  3. Ken Houston, who started with the Houston Oilers in 1967 and ended his career in Washington in 1980.

Reed, a five-time First Team All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler followed in fourth, just ahead of Ronnie Lott and well ahead of other players like Steve Atwater and Brian Dawkins. So, how did Reed respond to this ranking from the veteran NFL.com writer?

Others quickly came to the defense of Reed…

If there is one thing that can be said for Brandt’s ranking, it is that it takes a lot of historical perspective into the equation. Brandt may give more credit to those who pioneered the position in different eras to help make it what it is today in the sport. If that is the case, so be it, but anyone who thinks Reed is outside the top three is probably likely to be fighting a losing battle. Even Polamalu has said Reed is the best.

“I’ve told him to his face many times, ‘You’re the greatest safety ever to play the game,'” Polamalu said to The New York Times in 2009. “We all learn from each other, but we all learn most from him.”

So maybe Brandt needs to go back to the drawing board for a minute for a quick revision.

[ESPN]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.