NEW ORLEANS — A running diary was needed this week to track the comments of Ravens safety Ed Reed as he prepares to play in his first Super Bowl on Sunday.
The 34-year-old started the week hinting that retiring teammate Ray Lewis might not be so serious about walking away from the game while also appearing to soften on his stance from last week stating he would play again next season. Reed also stated he felt former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had no regrets about playing football before committing suicide last spring.
However, his comments about wanting to play for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick created quite a stir on Wednesday with Reed scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. Many running with the story failed to acknowledge Reed also expressed a desire to remain in Baltimore during the same interview session.
On Thursday, Reed clarified his remarks about Belichick while also scolding reporters who elected to pick and choose his words for their purposes.
“The bad part about this is that you all ask the question, but don’t write down everything that someone says,” Reed said. “People only get a part of what the comment was. I don’t have to say much about that. My heart is in Baltimore.
“The question is, ‘Would I play for Bill Belichick?’ Yes. What football player wouldn’t play for Coach Belichick? Will I be in New England? Most likely not. It’s just terrible that people get half of the story, and it’s even [worse] when you hear the comments that they make toward you, but it comes with it.”
Reed has dug plenty of holes for himself from a media standpoint, but there was nothing wrong with what he said in simply complimenting a coach who has expressed an affinity for the free safety over the years. With the Ravens almost certain to allow Reed to test the free-agent market, the veteran would be doing a disservice to himself by dismissing any potential suitors — even if only for negotiating purposes.
A return may not happen given the Ravens’ tight salary cap for the 2013 season and other priorities ahead of re-signing Reed, but anyone interpreting Reed’s initial comments about Belichick and the Patriots as anything more than an innocuous thought was reaching for a headline and nothing more. The reality is that Reed would — and should — be willing to play for a number of teams if he is unable to come to an agreement for a new deal in Baltimore.
As Reed has said on several occasions over the last few years, it’s a business.
“I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn’t want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team,” Reed said on Wednesday. “If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore. If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon.”
With players very accessible over this four-day period in New Orleans and Reed always being a colorful interview, the fact that he’s created headlines this week should come as no surprise to anyone.