Ravens expect Ed Reed back next season

A year ago yesterday, Ed Reed said that he was strongly considering retirement and that his chances of playing the 2010 season were "50-50".

Reed didn't speak to reporters after the Ravens' 31-24 playoff loss to the Steelers on Saturday, but head coach John Harbaugh said today that he doesn't think Reed will seriously consider retirement this time around, and he expects to see his seven-time Pro Bowl safety back with the team again next season.

"I've seen him say publicly he plans on playing for as long as he can, and he's told me - I don't think he minds me saying this - he wants to play football," Harbaugh said. "Ed's got a chance this offseason, I think, to be healthier than he's ever been going into a season because I don't think he has any major injuries. He's got some things that he's got to work through, but I think he's going to have a full year of offseason conditioning, and he's excited about that. I don't want to speak for him, he's going to have to tell you all that, but I think Ed's going to have a great year next year."

Reed's had quite a topsy-turvy year. He's experienced major injuries, great success, and the tragedy surrounding his brother, who is still missing and presumed dead after jumping into the Mississippi River 10 days ago.

Reed missed the first six weeks of the season because of offseason reconstructive hip surgery, but when he returned, he was the same ballhawking safety that the Ravens have grown accustomed to seeing over the last nine seasons.

He led the NFL with eight interceptions despite only playing in 10 games, and returned those eight picks for a league-high 183 yards. Reed also made 29 tackles, had a team-best 16 passes defensed and forced a fumble.

Reed played the last two weeks with a heavy heart following the disappearance of his younger brother Brian. The Ravens rallied around their teammate, and gave him a game ball following their opening-round playoff win over the Chiefs.

"I'm very impressed with and proud of Ed Reed," Harbaugh said. "Always have been, but even moreso this year than ever."

It looks like the Ravens will get at least one more year to be impressed with and proud of their playmaking safety.

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