INDIANAPOLIS – Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed won’t be joining Ricky Williams in retirement, informing coach John Harbaugh that he intends to return for next season.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has contemplated retirement in the past due to injuries, including neck, shoulder and hip problems.
“He met with John and he told John that he’s going to get himself prepared to come back and play in 2012,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said Friday at the NFL scouting combine.
An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Reed had issues tackling at the end of the season due to his shoulder problems.
Reed, 33, intercepted three passes last season, but just one was recorded after a rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game.
“It was kind of funny, a couple people asked me and said, ‘Ed’s coming back? Isn’t that great?’” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t know that was an issue, to my understanding. Ed is so far along in his career, you’ve got to respect what he’s done.
“You leave that in his hands. He told us right after the season that he was coming back next year and looking forward to it. He was in great shape this year. He stayed healthy throughout the whole year.”
During an AFC divisional round playoff victory, Reed had a key interception in the end zone.
Reed is under contract through next season with a $7.2 million base salary. He turns 34 in September.
He finished last season with 52 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble during the regular season, recording 10 tackles, one interception and six pass deflections in the playoffs.
“He played a lot better than what some people sometimes want to think,” Harbaugh said. “He played really well. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.”
OFFSEASON SURGERIES: Wide receiver Torrey Smith had double sports hernia surgery after the season and cornerback Cary Williams had a torn labrum in his hip repaired.
Smith played hurt the entire season.
“He nursed that the whole year,” Harbaugh said. “He did a great job of that.”
Smith said he’ll recover soon from his injury.
“Guess the news is out about my surgery,” Smith wrote on his Twitter account. “That is why I couldn’t drive. Please don’t worry about my healthy. I am fine. I’ll be full speed in a few.”
BIRK MULLING HIS OPTIONS: Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk is still deciding whether he’ll retire or return for one more season.
“He’s thinking about it right now,” Harbaugh said. “I’m cautiously optimistic. He’ll make an announcement at some point in time. We want to have him back if he wants to come back. We’ll see what he does.
“He got through the year healthy and we think he can still play. We need a center and he’s a great guy. He’s the Man of the Year. We want him back.”
Birk may undergo minor leg surgery this offseason.
“Matt Birk is looking at getting his varicose veins fixed,” Harbaugh said. “His legs might be looking a lot better if and when he comes back. “
QUICK HITS: The Ravens had meetings with several players, including Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro, Notre Dame wide receiver Malcom Floyd, Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright, Georgia center Ben Jones and Ohio University wide receiver LaVon Brazill. Hill is a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder who runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.3 range. … The Ravens are content with Tyrod Taylor as the backup quarterback to starter Joe Flacco. Taylor was the backup as a rookie last season after being drafted in the sixth round out of Virginia Tech. “He has unbelievable poise, he has great accuracy, he’s an outstanding leader in the huddle, in the meeting rooms,” Newsome said. “Everything you would want from a quarterback, from a guy that hasn’t played, Tyrod has it.”