OWINGS MILLS — Ed Reed essentially erased the suspense surrounding his plans for this season a week ago with his announcement at his golf tournament that he intends to play this season.
That followed a rocky offseason where Reed contemplated retirement and hinted at a potential holdout as he enters the final year of his contract.
The status of the Baltimore Ravens’ unpredictable star free safety crystallized even more Tuesday when coach John Harbaugh disclosed that Reed informed him personally that he would be attending training camp. Veterans report today, and the first full-team practice is set for Thursday.
"Ed Reed plans on being here," Harbaugh said following the first practice of camp comprise of rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans form last season. "I talked with Ed, had a great conversation and I’m looking forward to seeing him."
Gaining final resolution to the Reed saga is a relief to the defending AFC North champions.
And that development follows the Ravens signing Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice to a $40 million maximum value contract.
"It’s been a good few weeks," Harbaugh said.
After nearly reaching the Super Bowl last season and enduring a major injury to NFL Defensive Player of the Year outside linebacker Terrell Suggs in April when he partially tore his Achilles tendon, Harbaugh struck an upbeat stance with the offseason finally over.
"I had a great vacation, excited to have the players back," Harbaugh said. "The guys came back in really great shape, for the most part. A couple of guys will learn their lesson the hard way as far as the conditioning test and getting out and practicing at our pace, but that’s a good thing."
Having signed Rice to a deal that includes a $15 million signing bonus removes a potential distraction and locks up one of the most dynamic all-purpose offensive players in the game for the next five years.
Rice remains the centerpiece of the Ravens’ offense after leading the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage last season.
"It means that we’ll have Ray here for a long period of time, which is a great thing," Harbaugh said. "Congratulations to Ray. I thought both sides did a great job of getting the deal done. Nobody was happier than me, except for Ray. It’s just great for everybody."
Rice rushed for a career-high 1,364 yards and a dozen touchdowns last season. He also led the Ravens with 76 receptions.
"I guess it’s nice," six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk said. "It’s great for Ray.
“Obviously on a personal level, I think to a man, everyone is happy for him because he’s a hard-working guy, great guy to have in the locker room, great talent. It’s always nice when the right people have success in this deal. We are happy for him, and I’m sure he’s happy and can just focus on football."
Besides Suggs and reserve wide receiver David Reed, who’s expected to miss training camp after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last season, the injury news is mostly encouraging.
Suggs is on the non-football injury list, and Reed is on the physically unable to perform list.
Defensive end Pernell McPhee, the Ravens’ second leading pass rusher last season with six sacks as a rookie, is also on the physically unable to perform list.
Slated to compete with Arthur Jones for the starting defensive end spot vacated by Cory Redding when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts, McPhee underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee this spring.
"McPhee had surgery, just had a little thing cleaned up in his knee, nothing major on his knee," Harbaugh said. "He had a little personal issue, so he missed about a week of rehab. So, we are easing him in slow right now. He should be practicing very, very soon."
Rookie offensive guard Kelechi Osemele is on the physically unable to perform list with back spasms, but is expected to practice as soon as today or Thursday.
"He is looking really good as we build him through these couple of days," Harbaugh said.
Offensive guard Jah Reid suffered a setback in his recovery from a right strained calf muscle a few weeks ago. Reid first hurt his leg during minicamp and was carted off the field.
He’s now on the physically unable to perform list.
The timing for David Reed is tough because the Ravens added former Houston Texans return specialist Jacoby Jones during the offseason on a two-year, $6.5 million contract.
Now, he’s out indefinitely.
"David, we are going to take slow," Harbaugh said. "We’ve got hopes for David Reed, but if David Reed gets back in training camp, I think that’d be a huge upset although he is actually looking really good."
The Ravens auditioned former Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl alternate offensive guard Eric Steinbach on Tuesday morning along with a few undisclosed outside linebackers. Steinbach spent last season on injured reserve with the Browns after undergoing back surgery to repair a disc fragment from his spinal nerve.
Although the workout apparently went fine, Steinbach wasn’t immediately signed to a contract. He’s expected to work out for a few other teams and remain in touch with the Ravens.
“It’s like we say every year, we’re always looking for players, we’re always looking to upgrade,” Harbaugh said. “If you have an opportunity where good players are available, we’re going to try and take a look at them. We’re going to try and make the roster better any way we can at any time.
"If we can create even better competition and put more good players in the mix with the kind of financial resources that we have, we always want to do that. Eric Steinbach is a heck of a player. I don’t know where we stand but we’re going to look for any good player we can at any time.”