When the Ravens need to know whether safety Ed Reed is ready and able to play this Sunday against the Bills, they won't turn to the training staff for a ruling, as they would with most players coming off injuries.
They'll turn to Reed himself.
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said today that after taking part in practices this week, Reed will make a decision on whether he's able to suit up this weekend, or whether he would prefer to sit out and give his surgically-repaired hip some more time to heal.
"Ed Reed has played long enough in this league and has done so many great things in this league [that] Ed Reed will let us know when Ed Reed is ready to go," Mattison said. "He's not a guy that you have to question. Ed Reed will only go out and play if he thinks he can play well enough to help win and for him to do what he has to do.
"So, Ed Reed will go out and practice and he'll continue to work on the things and run the defenses and stuff like that. If he feels like he's ready to go, then that'll be his decision, and we'll go from there."
With the Ravens having a bye next week, Reed said yesterday that he could decide not to play against Buffalo, giving him another two weeks to get back into football shape before a Week 9 matchup with the Dolphins.
How did Reed look yesterday during his first practice back?
"I said this before, and I've only been here with him for three years, but [gosh] he looks good out there," Mattison said.
The Ravens respect the way that Tom Zbikowski has filled in for Reed the last six weeks, but they're clearly happy to have Reed back in the fold. Mattison said that there were a lot of smiles out on the practice field yesterday with Reed out there, and even the Ravens' defensive coordinator had trouble containing his excitement when talking about Reed's return.
"Not taking anything away from Tom Zbikowski - he's done a tremendous job - but that's Ed Reed," Mattison said. "Just the vibrancy and just to hear him talking back there saying, 'Watch this, watch that.' That's what he brings to the table."