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Mile High Morning: Hall of Famer Ed Reed details his attempt to give his Hall of Fame spot to Broncos legend Steve Atwater


The Lead

In an appearance on Ryan Clark's "The Pivot", former Baltimore Raven standout and Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed spoke glowingly of longtime Broncos safety Steve Atwater. But Reed's admiration extended beyond just acknowledging Atwater's impact.

Reed, an inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019, revealed that he tried to give his spot in his class to Atwater.

"I don't know what you heard, but I was trying to [give] my spot up to Steve Atwater at the time," Reed said. "… I grew up watching Steve Atwater, and he's on the [finalist] list, but he's not in there. And I'm like, 'This is crazy.'

"And I would give my spot up for Steve — [and say] 'Send me in next year.' He was one of the pavers that I truly watched."

Atwater starred in the Denver secondary from 1989 to 1998, earning a spot on the All-Decade Team for the 1990s and winning Super Bowls in his final two seasons with the Broncos. He also made seven Pro Bowls while in Denver and became one of the league's best defensive players with his physical style of play.

Atwater's career made a profound impact on Reed, who played for the Ravens from 2002-2012 and won AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. When Reed came up for induction consideration, he couldn't believe one of his inspirations at the position hadn't been enshrined in Canton by that point.

"Man, really, like, 'Steve Atwater [is] not in?'," Reed said. "He went in a year later. So I was like, 'C'mon, man.'"

Atwater was inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 2005, but a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame required a bit more patience and a couple of stints as a finalist before his long-awaited — and well-deserved — enshrinement in the Class of 2020.

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