Will he or won’t he? Is he committed to football or is he done?
Coach John Harbaugh and Reed’s teammates maintained that they believed the five-time All-Pro safety would be back in the defensive backfield. And Reed didn’t disappoint.
On Wednesday, he spoke with the media for the first time during training camp and commented, albeit vaguely, about his thought process during the offseason.
“I mean, I’m here, man,” Reed said. “What transpired months back transpired. What happened because of what I had to deal with family-wise and what I’ve been going through for the last 11 years now in the league, you know it’s always a time when you have to assess yourself. Once you get to a certain part and you’ve been doing it - maybe ... guys don’t be as vocal with it, but when you’re dealing with the business side of it, too, that’s something you have to deal with.
“I choose to deal with it the way I deal with it. That way, young guys know it. Kids will know it as they come up. Their parents will know it. I’m not a guy who holds things back. That’s why you get what you get. And if I didn’t do it that way, you wouldn’t have the information to write about.”
And Reed gave the media plenty to write about since the end of last season. He first said he wasn’t sure he was committed to football anymore before back-stepping from those comments.
Reed, who’s entering the final year of his contract, also at one point hinted that he might hold out.
Since camp begun, Reed has been in Owings Mills preparing to play. He said Wednesday that he has already begun discussions with the team about signing an extension, and that’s something he hopes comes to fruition.
“I know Ozzie (Newsome) and them know I want to be here,” Reed said. “We will get that done when it’s time to cross that bridge. I’m good with football right now. I’m focused on the season. That’s all I’m worried about right now is getting my teammates better and get myself better and get ready to go forward this season.
“Like I said, they know I’m assessing myself year to year. Would I like to play more? Of course, but the body tells you something different. You know, that’s something you always deal with after the season. So, when we cross that bridge y’all guys will know.”
However, even though Reed said the topic of a new deal has been broached, he also hinted that negotiations are not under way and he’s not even sure if it will happen.
“Being that I don’t have an agent, I don’t know how they’re going to go about it,” he said. “I know they tried to deal with things last season. That’s why things, you know, the talks have been the way they have been because I’ve been dealing with it myself. That’s the way I choose to go about it in this business because there’s a lot of stuff you have to deal with. I didn’t want a middle man in between.
“I felt like I can handle it, but you do need somebody to kind of say the things you’re not able to say because you are in the business. I have a lot of respect for this organization, obviously. They gave me a chance back in 2003 to come here and play and I know they have respect for me.
“It’s no different than what regular folks go through on their job. This is a job. That’s what a lot of people are missing. There’s a lot we deal with because it is a physical job. I know the Ravens know I want to be here. I wouldn’t give myself to the football team like I do if I didn’t want to be here. There is a business side to it. Not every story plays out the way you want it to be. When we cross that bridge you guys will know.”
Secondary coach Teryl Austin said he always thought Reed would come back and is pretty pleased that happened.
“The one thing about Ed is he’s a professional. He loves this game, prepares like no other and to stay away from it would’ve been really hard for him. I’m glad he’s back, personally,” Austin said.
“Any secondary, if you took a Hall of Famer out of it, they’d be hurt.”