Q&A: Jeff Reed

PITTSBURGH – It's only June but Jeff Reed remains the NFL's hottest kicker. He converted 17 field goals in a row to finish the regular season, and then went 4 for 4 in the playoffs. He'll enter the 2005 season needing two more to tie Gary Anderson's Steelers record for consecutive field goals. Reed sat down and talked with us about that and other kicking issues.

Are you enjoying your time off this spring?
Jeff Reed: Well, we don't have to kick or punt necessarily, but we do it with coach (Kevin) Spencer on our own time. We're still working out. We're running and lifting and hanging around with the guys.

I understand Greg Warren is a friend of yours.
Jeff Reed: He is. I was in his wedding in April. I've known him since 2000, around there. He was my snapper my senior year, my last year at North Carolina. Not only is he a good person, he's a good player. He has a good heart and gets along pretty much with everybody.

I also learned that he's a giant in the weight room.
Jeff Reed: Yeah. Actually, before I kicked at North Carolina, I competed with him in the weight room. You have the offensive and defensive line, then the receivers, DBs, the quarterbacks. The groups all have lifting records on the power board. I was a specialist. I would've won all those categories but unfortunately we had Greg, and Greg pretty much killed me in everything. I even tried creatine to see if I could pass his records, but I couldn't do it. He's too strong.

What can you tell me about him as a player?
Jeff Reed: As a player he goes 100 percent all the time. He's a good snapper, both long and short. He's made some tackles in his day. I called him every week to see how he did, no matter what the team did. He's a good friend of mine.

Mike Schneck is another good friend of yours. It looks like your two good friends are competing for the same job.
Jeff Reed: Mike's a great friend of mine. He's done a lot for me. He brought me into this team really well, Josh (Miller) and him, and he's done nothing but help me be successful. That's where the business side of this game comes in. I have to worry about myself. I can't worry about anybody else. Mike's the No. 1 snapper and Greg's the back-up and the decision will be made from upstairs. That's how the business is. I have competition myself. I'm a friend of everybody on this team. I don't care if I don't even know them and they're young guys. I'll do anything for them.

Did the Steelers come to you for information on Greg?
Jeff Reed: No. He has the same agent as I do. That's the only way I even knew he was talking to Pittsburgh. No, I had no input in it. It's not my role. I do know him and I played with him. I think he was rated in the top five long-snappers coming out of college and they went with him.

Doesn't it seem like every year they bring someone in to replace Schneck?
Jeff Reed: It's only making him better. I'm not biased towards Greg, but in the past couple years I've been in camp Greg's probably better than the other guys they brought in. Then again, that doesn't mean anything. Greg has to do a good job and he knows that, and Schneck has to keep doing a great job and he knows that. It'll be a healthy competition. They're already nice and friendly with each other. They're friends. They hang out and stuff. We all stick together in this business because we all know how it's run. I told Greg about it. You just do what you can do and you compete, but there's no reason to not like the other guy at your position. There's no reason to be like that.

A long-snapper directly affects you. Do you dare give an opinion on which friend is better?
Jeff Reed: Honestly, it doesn't matter. A snapper is a snapper. If he's good, he's good. In this business, you don't want a friend over a better snapper. I've known Greg longer, yes, but I've known Mike for three years and Mike has done nothing but help me out, not only in football but in life. He has me leaning in the right direction in how to do this and that with your money, and his family's made me dinner. There's a lot of stuff about Mike that Greg's not involved with, so it's not like I'm favoring one over the other because Greg went to North Carolina and Mike went to Wisconsin. They're both good friends of mine and I'll do anything for both of them.

How are you feeling coming into this year riding that great streak?
Jeff Reed: Honestly, it's out of my mind. I know it's there, but you don't know if your first three kicks of the season are going to be 55-yarders. You don't know if they're going to be 20-yard chip shots. You don't know how much you're going to kick. So I'm just looking forward to training camp and the first preseason game. I know the regular season is when the streak continues, but I can't wait for the next kick in a game because there's been all this hype with the new contract. People wonder if I'm really that good. That's how it always is. It doesn't bother me. It just encourages me to continue working hard to get better.

Does the contract give you any peace of mind?
Jeff Reed: I feel I'm wanted. I feel these guys want me here long-term, and it's up to me whether I stay or not. That's how it should be. If I don't perform, they won't keep me, and if I perform, they'll keep me. That's how I feel, but that's how I'm going to feel my whole career because this is a business and they're going to make business decisions.

What is the record for consecutive field goals?
Jeff Reed: I think it's 19. I think I have 17 because they didn't count the playoffs.

Didn't Mike Vanderjagt just set the record?
Jeff Reed: Oh, he made all of them in one year. I'm just talking about the Steelers. I think Gary Anderson had 19. Vanderjagt had about [42], which is unheard of. It'd be tough to beat that. I'm just trying to help us win. That's all I can do.

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