In his 11th season, Ravens safety Ed Reed has finally reached the Super Bowl. As if that accomplishment wasn’t good enough for the future Hall of Fame player, he’ll play the biggest game of his life in his home city of New Orleans.
Questions have surrounded Reed since the preseason about his future in the NFL after a brief holdout during training camp but since then, Reed has changed his tone in regards to his future. Next Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the last game Reed is under contract with the Baltimore Ravens and his future – at least with the franchise – is in serious question regardless of the outcome of the game.
For months, Reed has stated that he wants to continue playing beyond this season. Still, some remain convinced that Reed would hang up his cleats following a Super Bowl victory in his home city, going out on top like John Elway, Jerome Bettis or Michael Strahan who retired after bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.
Retirement has been a strong motivating factor inside the Ravens locker room ever since Reed’s teammate and fellow University of Miami alum, linebacker Ray Lewis, announced the playoffs would be his “last ride” earlier this month.
If the Ravens are victorious next Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers, Reed would have the perfect situation to put a bow on his career and call it quits. He was asked today if he had reconsidered and if this was in fact his last ride as well.
“No, it’s not my last ride,” Reed said before pausing for a few seconds. “I just bought a bike.”
Reed’s answer and perfect delivery was enough to make a packed auditorium of media members at the Under Armour Performance Center bust into sheer laughter.
“When it comes to really talking about going home for this Super Bowl, it’s amazing to me,” he said. “I’m just enjoying every minute and every second of being around my teammates.”
Video: Ed Reed at Thursday’s press conference
Reed’s enjoyment of his current team and taking in every moment could be due to the fact that his future within the Ravens organization still remains in limbo regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII. Reed will be without a contract after this game and was paid more than $7 million this season, which many believe is too much for Reed’s current level of play.
Unfortunately, it may not be Reed’s choice if he stays in a Ravens uniform or not.
Before concluding his time at the podium, Reed was asked once again by a media member if this was it because the reporter saw his “bike” reference as a way of skipping over the question at hand.
“I’ll be playing next year if that’s what you’re asking,” Reed said. “Next question.”
Even though he hasn’t officially ever retired, Reed’s uncertainty to continue his career in the past has been something taken out of a page of former Packers legend Brett Favre’s book. After a 2010 loss in the playoffs to the Colts, Reed contemplated retirment following the game. Obviously, Reed didn’t retire and has been named to a couple of Pro Bowls since.
With Reed not being a stranger to serious contemplations of his future following major games, hoisting the Lombardi trophy inside the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome and confetti falling on his face may still change his mind.
If Reed does have a change of heart, he’ll most certainly join Lewis as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2018, but for the time being, Reed appears pretty adamant that he will be back.
It just may not be in a Ravens uniform.