WESTMINSTER — Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed acknowledged that he has pondered retirement over the past few years, a decision that wide receiver Derrick Mason continues to contemplate.
Reed was activated from the physically unable to perform list and practiced Friday, but remains in a red jersey that signifies he’s off-limits to contact drills.
And his condition, a nerve impingement of his neck and shoulder which has limited his ability to be as physical as he was in the past in run support and blitz packages, has weighed on Reed’s mind.
"Just to hit on Mason, I feel him," Reed said. "He had two surgeries and just with going through other things emotion-wise, it’s hard. I’ve been contemplating sitting out for the last two years and hanging up the cleats and stuff.
"When you start to think about those things, you start to put things in perspective. You start looking for other things to do outside of football."
Despite his injuries, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and five-time Pro Bowl selection remains committed to playing football.
“I mean I love this game," said Reed, who intercepted a league-high nine interceptions last season. "At the end of the day I say, ‘Let’s see how this one goes and look up next year and then debate from there.’"
As far as Reed’s physical condition, the Ravens are being careful with him and taking a precautionary measure.
"We just don’t want to put it in a situation where we take a chance," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We don’t need to. Ed knows how to tackle. He’ll pick his spots a little bit that way, but we want to be smart."
MCGAHEE REBOUNDS: Now that running back Willis McGahee has been activated to practice, the former Pro Bowl runner trucked nose guard Kelly Talavou as he ran with power all day.
“I feel pretty good,” said McGahee, who’s recovering from offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. “I went down to Miami this summer and worked hard with my trainer. He really concentrated on leg work and working in the sand pit changing directions That’s what really helped me out actually coming back this good."
McGahee is also coming back from an ankle problem.
McGahee will compete against second-year running back Ray Rice for the starting=2 0position. And he is content with his progress on the field so far, rating his ability at the highest level.
"This is the first practice so I’ll say a 10,” McGahee said. “This is the first practice so I’m good.”
Meanwhile, Harbaugh gave McGahee some rare praise.
“He was explosive, he ran a couple of people over out there," Harbaugh said "It was a good day for Willis, a good start.”
PROGRESSING QUICKLY: Offensive guard Marshall Yanda participated in individual drills, but didn’t partake in any contact workouts in the first full-team practice as he was activated.
Yanda is recuperating from three torn knee ligaments suffered last season against the Indianapolis Colts, including his anterior cruciate ligament.
He underwent two surgical procedures to prepare the anterior cruciate, and medial and posterior collateral ligaments damage last October and this January.
Yanda hopes to get a chance to reclaim his starting right guard job from Chris Chester if he makes a complete recovery prior to the season.
“Chris is there playing and he went ahead and started after I got hurt, so he’s definitely going to be the guy," Yanda said. "They can’t count on me right now because I’m still trying to make my way back. But when that time comes where I can be competitive, we’ll compete."
NEW INSIGHT: The Ravens are in the process of hiring former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders as an offensive consultant.
The Ravens were working on a coaching contract for Saunders on Friday.
Saunders attended practice and meetings and had dinner Friday night with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson.
"Al has a tremendous offensive mind," Jackson said. "His insight into the game gives us a fresh set of eyes, so I really welcome his presence. It would be great to have him here. I told him, ‘Tell me what you’re seeing.’"
STANDING-ROOM ONLY: The Ravens had an estimated crowd of 11,078 for the first day of camp. That marks one of the largest attendances in franchise history.
"The place is absolutely stuffed," coach John Harbaugh said. "I remember standing behind that live drill and looked up and saw them in levels behind here on the steps. The guys are excited about that. It makes it more fun to get out here."
INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Adam Terry’s surgically-repaired knee is bothering him.
He was unable to take part in drills and was limping around with his leg heavily wrapped. He’s expected to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam soon.
Defensive end Trevor Pryce had a scare and was carted off the field and taken to the locker room. However, he wasn’t even limping later after having his foot stepped on.
“His foot got stepped on and he’s going to be OK,” Harbaugh said.
Wide receiver Kelley Washington remains on the non-football injury list with the flu.
“I’m pretty congested and have been feeling pretty bad,” Washington said. “I’m getting a little bit better and I just wanted to make sure I was 100 percent before I started practicing. I should be back in a day or two.”
Wide receiver Marcus Smith cramped up and was held out of practice, but didn’t pull any muscles.
“I just need to drink more water and get some potassium in me,” Smith said. “I ran pretty hard and it took a lot out of me.”
Defensive end Will Johnson (right hamstring) didn’t practice.
Special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo was dealing with a leg injury and didn’t return, stretching out his lower leg on the sidelines.
Also not practicing: wide receiver Yamon Figurs (foot surgery), offensive tackle Joe Reitz (left knee), cornerback Samari Rolle (groin, shoulder) and rookie linebacker Jason Phillips (lateral meniscus surgery).
“I’m getting better,” said Rolle, who had an electric apparatus attached to his neck to stimulate healing. “We have great trainers here, the best in the league. As soon as they tell me I’m ready, I’ll be out there. Hopefully, that will be really soon.”
Phillips’ knee remains wrapped during agility and conditioning work.
QUICK HITS: Reed said that his relationship and understanding of Harbaugh has grown. "He’s all football," Reed said. "I think there is some stuff that comes with being a head coach, that have to be a certain way. At the end of the day, he’s my head coach and I’m going to play on his team. There are certain things I have to abide by. It might not be all the time we agree with each other, but that’s a part of being a family.” … Wide receiver Demetrius Williams had a strong practice, catching several intermediate passes with an acrobatic catch over the shoulder. … Wide receiver Biren Ealy caught a touchdown. … Justin Harper displayed shaky hands on one occasion, dropping a deep throw over the middle. … Kicker Steve Hauschka was admonished by linebacker Terrell Suggs after missing a 35-yard attempt wide to the left as he converted 4 of 6 field goals. Then, rookie Graham Gano connected on all six attempts. … The offense was repeatedly flagged for false starts. … Cornerback Chris Carr lined up at nickel back, intercepting a Troy Smith pass.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.