OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has spoken with Ed Reed recently, a conversation that prompted him to express confidence that the Pro Bowl safety is going to play football this season.
Reed had said he would contemplate whether to retire following a divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Harbaugh has a comfort level that the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be back.
This is the same stance that Harbaugh has taken toward Reed the entire offseason.
The organization isn’t pressing Reed for an unequivocal decision out of respect for him, but is operating under the informed belief that the six-time Pro Bowl selection will return.
Reed has talked with newly-acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin and expressed excitement about the upcoming season, according to Harbaugh.
Harbaugh said 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
GAITHER STAYING PUT: The Ravens haven’t received trade offers for offensive tackle Jared Gaither, according to Harbaugh.
There had been several rumors that Gaither was available for a second-round draft pick. There hasn’t been anything concrete to those rumors.
However, the Ravens haven’t even garnered a low-ball offer.
Harbaugh reiterated that the team doesn’t want to trade Gaither, a 6-foot-9, 340-pounder whom the Ravens feel is a good, young left tackle.
The restricted free agent was assigned a first-round tender, but he has yet to sign the $2.3 million tender. So, he can’t be traded anyway until he signs.
NO ROOKIE KICKER: The Ravens aren’t planning to sign a rookie kicker, general manager Ozzie Newsome said. The top free agent kicker is Shayne Graham, who met with Newsome, Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti during the NFL owners meetings last month in Orlando, Fla.
The Ravens want to acquire a kicker to compete with Billy Cundiff, who did a solid job of replacing Steve Hauschka last year.
“No, I don’t think we’ll be signing a rookie kicker,” Newsome said. “I do feel that by the time we get to training camp, there probably will be some competition at the kicking position.”
BULKING UP: Former second-round pick Paul Kruger has bulked up to 274 pounds and is working hard to play defensive end, per Harbaugh.
Kruger didn’t make much of a contribution as a rookie last season except for an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
TOUGH GUY: The Ravens love the way second round outside linebacker Sergio Kindle provides nastiness and versatility to the defense.
Kindle could give the Ravens a chance to shift Jarret Johnson to inside linebacker at times.
Harbaugh referred to Kindle’s style on the field as “violent.”
UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS: The Ravens have begun striking deals with several undrafted rookie free agents, including Boston College linebacker Mike McClaughlin, Memphis running back Curtis Steele and Georgia cornerback Prince Miller, Marshall outside linebacker Albert McClellan and Tennessee long snapper Morgan Cox.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.