D.J. Reed's unbelievable NY Jets debut was about more than football

NY Jets, D.J. Reed
NY Jets, D.J. Reed / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

NY Jets cornerback D.J. Reed was a superstar in more way than one on Sunday.

The fifth-year cornerback made his Jets debut in style against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, putting together arguably the best game of his NFL career to date. And he did so while playing with a heavy heart.

You may have noticed Reed's celebration, or more appropriately 'tribute,' following his leaping interception in the second half. Reed wasn't showing off. Instead, he was honoring a loved one.

The 25-year-old later recounted that he found out his father had passed away moments before taking the field at MetLife Stadium that afternoon. Reed could be seen with tears in his eyes during the national anthem, and he dedicated not only that game to his father, but the entire 2022 season.

Reed shared the details of his remarkable demonstration of courage when speaking to the media on Monday.

D.J. Reed was outstanding in his NY Jets debut for more than one reason

It's impossible for me personally to fathom the emotions that Reed went through that afternoon. To not only play in that game, but to put together the performance that he did is nothing short of miraculous and inspiring.

Let's look at the numbers for a moment.

Reed was targeted a total of six times in his Jets debut, allowing zero total receptions. He was the only cornerback in the NFL to be targeted more than two times and not allow a single catch. Again, he was targeted six times.

His 90.2 Pro Football Focus coverage grade ranked highest among all cornerbacks in the NFL in Week 1. Of course, that's not even mentioning his highlight-reel interception of Lamar Jackson in the second half.

Reed was pretty much perfect on Sunday — it was likely the best game of his five-year NFL journey. I can't think of a better tribute to his father than that.

D.J. Reed was arguably the best player on the field for the Jets or Ravens in Week 1, but this was about so much more than that. This was about more than football.

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This was about honoring his father and paying tribute in the only way he knew how.

All of us here at The Jet Press wish D.J. and his loved ones all the best. Rest In Peace, Dennis Reed Sr.