Harbaugh still expects Reed back

A couple weeks ago, at his end of the season press conference, head coach John Harbaugh said that despite the fact that Ed Reed is considering retirement, he expected his six-time Pro Bowl safety to return next season.

At today’s “State of the Ravens” press conference, Harbaugh reiterated that message.

“Ed’s going to hear me say this and maybe he’d say something different, but I believe Ed’s going to play next year,” Harbaugh said. “Then again...if he doesn’t, we’ll have to have a plan in place to move on. There’s no better leader, there’s no better football player, there’s no better guy on our team than Ed Reed and we need him back. He’s a huge part of our puzzle.”

Reed said immediately following the Ravens’ Divisional Round loss to the Colts that his chances of retirement were “50-50”. A nerve impingement in Reed’s neck and a hip injury limited the safety to just 12 games this season, and it was Reed’s concern for his long-term health that sparked the thoughts of retirement.

Some Ravens players have said that they expect Reed back for the 2010 season, and the feeling around The Castle is that he’ll likely return.

Wide receiver Derrick Mason has also tossed the “retirement” word around, although his situation is complicated by the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Asked about Mason’s status, Harbaugh said today that he would like to see the veteran wideout back in Baltimore next season as well.

“That depends on contract things and where he’s at as far as his career, but we’re going to try and do everything we can to get Derrick back,” Harbaugh said. “I’m a coach. You want as many good players as you can possibly get, and those are two really good players. I’m kind of somewhat counting on them right now as we go forward.”

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