BALTIMORE — Baltimore Ravens star free safety Ed Reed recently had hip surgery, a procedure that’s regarded as another indication that he plans to play football this season instead of retiring.
The surgery is regarded as minor, according to league sources.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be sidelined for a minicamp this week, but is expected to recover in time for training camp.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Reed was bothered by hip and groin problems during the season as well as a nagging nerve impingement in his neck.
Reed, 31, was sidelined for four games in December because of the hip injury and other ailments.
During the NFL draft, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he recently talked with Reed and came away confident that he will play this season.
Following an AFC divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Reed had said he would contemplate whether to retire.
Team officials have reiterated several times that they expect Reed to play and remain certain that he will return.
The organization hasn’t pressed Reed for an unequivocal decision or announcement out of respect for him, but are operating under the informed belief that he’ll be back.
Harbaugh noted recently that Reed has talked with wide receiver Anquan Boldin and expressed excitement about the upcoming season.
And Harbaugh added that Reed has been training hard in Atlanta and preparing for the season.
Reed has been dealing with a painful nerve impingement in his neck for the past few seasons, but hasn’t gotten any indications from doctors that it would be dangerous for him to continue playing football.
Now, Reed is on the mend from hip surgery.
In a dozen games last season, Reed intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles with 50 tackles. During two playoff games, he intercepted two passes.
Entering his ninth NFL season, the six-time All Pro has intercepted 46 career passes with nine forced fumbles, 458 tackles and 70 pass deflections. Reed has also scored 13 career touchdowns on seven interception returns, three blocked punts, one punt return and two fumble returns.
The Ravens signed Reed to a six-year, $44.4 million contract extension in 2006 that included $15 million in guaranteed money through a $7.5 million signing bonus and two option bonuses.
He’s due a $6 million base salary this year and $6.5 million in 2011 and $7.2 million in 2012, the final year of the deal.
“Ed reminds me of Rod Woodson because he’s so smart and knows how to read the defense,” wide receiver Derrick Mason told 24×7 a few years ago. “Playing against Rod for a long time, he lost a step, but was still smart enough to play because of that knowledge.
“Ed is one of those athletes that’s so smart. With that smartness and athleticism, he’s the top free safety in the league.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.