Instead of running from the challenge of replacing Ed Reed, Michael Huff is embracing it.
Following a future Hall of Famer at free safety is a difficult assignment. It could be particularly difficult for Huff. A rookie, Matt Elam, may start at the other safety position. That means Huff will have to be both playmaker and mentor in taking charge of the secondary, while helping Elam adjust to the NFL.
If Huff is worried about being overwhelmed, he does not talk like it.
"I think we know we have big shoes to fill," Huff said after Thursday's OTA practice. "Obviously, Ed is one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever to play the game. Definitely, it will be a tough task, but obviously, we are our own players. We just have to go out there and kind of play our game, not kind of live in the past, to start our own legacy. I think we will be just fine.''
Huff got a reminder this week of the standard that Reed set. Reed enjoyed Wednesday's ceremony at the White House, while Huff was left behind. Huff will not be included Friday night either, when the Ravens hold a private Super Bowl ring ceremony.
Watching the Ravens leave for the White House, Huff felt like the guy standing outside the party who could not get past security.
"They left me," Huff said jokingly. "I had my suit laid out the night before, and then I got here and the buses were gone. I'm just excited to be here around the festivities. Just to be around it makes you hungry, and you want to get another one.''
Huff said he had a good relationship with Reed, and that they had spoken recently.
"He's been one of my mentors and been one of the guys I watched,'' Huff said. "I obviously want to emulate him and make plays like he does.''
Huff has been using OTA's to build rapport and trust with his new teammates, something he plans to continue at next week's three-day mandatory minicamp.
"I'm here to carry on the legacy and the tradition,'' Huff said. "There's only one Ed, and there's only one Michael Huff. I'm just going to go out there and play my game.''