Report: Reed not fully committed to playing

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
3:49
PM ET

Ravens safety Ed Reed said he's "not 100 percent committed right now to playing this year," according to tweets from Sirius Radio's Rich Gannon and Adam Schein.

When asked if the Ravens know he's not committed, Reed said, "I'm sure they will after this interview."

Let's not overreact to this. This isn't news. This is Ed being Ed. This is the same player who has contemplated retirement every year since the end of the 2008 season because of a nerve impingement in his neck -- even saying he was 50-50 to return in January 2010 -- but he always ends up playing. And, in an all-too-familiar update to this story, Reed said hours after the radio interview that he is now planning to play this season and possibly beyond.

There will come a time soon when Reed will call it quits on a likely Hall of Fame career. He turns 34 when the season begins and has played only one full season in the past three. The feeling is that he won't be leaving the game this year.

It gets increasingly more difficult to believe Reed the more he uses the retirement card. It has come to the point when Reed should say the word "retirement" only when he is announcing his retirement.

[+] EnlargeEd Reed
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PresswireThis is not the first time Ed Reed has publicly said that he's contemplating retirement.
Trying to read Reed and his clues are often a struggle. After the Ravens’ AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots, Reed didn't speak to reporters but sang "I think I better let it go ..." from the Teddy Pendergrass song “Love TKO” as he walked out of the locker room. A month later, Reed told coach John Harbaugh that he was preparing himself to play in 2012.

Reed often contradicts himself, which makes it so hard to analyze what he really means. In late March, Reed said playing four to five more seasons was "a reality for me." In early April, Reed talked about how he has been trying to get a new contract from the Ravens. Now, he's saying on the radio that he is not committed.

So what is it, Ed? Do you want the Ravens to give you a long-term deal or are you going to retire?

Maybe this is about wanting a new contract. Perhaps this is Reed's way of getting the Ravens' attention. Reed is entering the final year of a six-year, $44.4 million contract, and he could be feeling left out because the Ravens signed cornerback Lardarius Webb to a six-year, $50 million extension this offseason and are in talks with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice. Maybe he feels like he has leverage considering the Ravens could be without linebacker Terrell Suggs this season.

If this is truly about a contract, Reed is hurting himself by saying he's not committed to this season. It wouldn't be wise for the Ravens to give a big signing bonus to Reed if he's not invested in playing for an extended period.

When asked about Reed's future in March, owner Steve Bisciotti told the Baltimore Sun: “We’ll either have to get him signed to an extension, he has to say that he’s done, or we have to face the possibility of seeing him play in another uniform. That’s the reality of this.”

As I've said before, trying to get in the head of Reed is laborious, frustrating and often pointless. I won't believe he is going to retire until he actually walks away from the game.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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