Jets’ DJ Reed explains heartbreaking reason for late-game celebration in blowout loss: ‘Deeper than football’

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Veteran cornerback D.J. Reed caught heat after appearing to celebrate a late-game interception that gave way to the New York Jets’ lone touchdown in their 24-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. But, after the game, Reed revealed his reaction was in honor of his late father. 

With the Ravens on their own 10-yard line, Lamar Jackson attempted to connect with wideout Demarcus Robinson deep down the sideline on 3rd-and-6, but Reed leapt up to catch what would be his fifth career interception. 

D..J. Reed of the New York Jets reacts during the Baltimore Ravens game at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

D..J. Reed of the New York Jets reacts during the Baltimore Ravens game at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The resulting play would give the Jets their only touchdown of the game with just over a minute remaining. But before that could play out, Reed took to midfield to kneel down and celebrate.

NFL FANS BELT OUT NATIONAL ANTHEM BEFORE JETS-RAVENS GAME AS 9/11 REMEMBRANCES OCCUR AROUND THE LEAGUE 

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 
(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

While social media users initially criticized the move at that stage of the game, Reed explained that he was honoring his father, who passed away “right before this game.” 

“My dad passed away literally right before this game,” Reed told CBS New York. “I was emotional, [I’m] still emotional … That pick was for my dad. It wasn’t celebrating with the scoreboard. That was much deeper than football.” 

D.J. Reed dedicated his interception against the Baltimore Ravens to his dad, who died before the game on Sept. 11, 2022.

D.J. Reed dedicated his interception against the Baltimore Ravens to his dad, who died before the game on Sept. 11, 2022.
(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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The Jets shared images of the emotional moment with condolences for Reed’s family in a tweet on Monday. 

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Reed finished with two tackles and one forced fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by Ravens running back Mike Davis.