If you missed his interview with SiriusXM radio on Thursday afternoon, Ravens safety Ed Reed was once again up to his old tricks of being, well, Ed Reed.
Reed reiterated to host Adam Schein what he’s subtly hinted on a few occasions this off-season that he’s not fully committed to returning to the field for the 2012 season. The news would create a firestorm coming from any other player of Reed’s ilk, but the Ravens and their fans have seen this song and dance too many times.
When asked whether the Ravens were aware of his uncertainty, Reed replied, “I’m sure they will after this interview.”
The veteran safety later backtracked on his comments, claiming he wasn’t referring to whether he would retire but instead was pointing to how playing impacts his family and health.
Entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $7.2 million, Reed desires a long-term extension. However, the Ravens will not budge from forcing Reed to play out the final year of his deal before re-evaluating where each side stands next off-season.
Speaking from both sides of his mouth like only he can, Reed has said he feels he can play four or five more years at one moment but then offers cryptic hints such as the one delivered on Thursday that he may decide to retire. It’s not the type of message that will create urgency for general manager Ozzie Newsome to rush to the phone and offer millions of dollars to the 33-year-old safety who has dealt with shoulder and hip injuries over the last few seasons.
These latest comments are a likely attempt at a power play after 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs partially tore his Achilles tendon in late April, putting his season in jeopardy. Many have opined how critical the veteran leadership of Reed and Ray Lewis will be in Suggs’ absence, a sentiment surely not lost on the eccentric safety.
Reed is not represented by an agent and has a reputation of not listening to those trying to advise him.
It’s not out of the question that the Ravens will offer Reed a new contract following the 2012 season, but they’re unlikely to offer the kind of lucrative payday the safety desires.
If Reed’s biggest desire is to earn the respect he feels he deserves with another sizable contract, he will likely be given the same luxury offered to Lewis following the 2008 season. Lewis was essentially told by the organization to see what was being offered from other suitors in free agency, but the inside linebacker ultimately found the grass wasn’t greener on the other side before signing a new contract to remain in Baltimore.
Unlike the past few seasons when Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura were viable options on the depth chart, the Ravens would find themselves in a far more vulnerable position if Reed would follow through on his threat to retire. Veteran Sean Considine and 2012 fourth-round pick Christian Thompson are projected to be the top backup safeties on the roster behind Reed and fellow starter Bernard Pollard.
However, it’s difficult to take Reed’s comments at face value after hearing similar statements in the past, meaning Newsome and the front office are unlikely to lose any sleep over this latest interview.