Five days after Ed Reed said in a radio interview that players sometimes have to hold out to get what they want, the Ravens free safety steered clear of football questions after hosting the first day of his youth annual football camp on Monday, which is being held at Stevenson University.
Reed did say, though, that his focus is “just so far away” from the NFL season, this, 10 days before he is scheduled to report for training camp down the road at the team’s facility in Owings Mills.
“This is about [this] camp, man. This is about these kids today,” said Reed, who is in the final year of his contract. “My mind is just so far away from what’s about to happen in the fall. I’m thinking about other things. … It’s about these kids right now, and I’m always excited about life.”
Last week, Reed said that he was "still thinking things through" when it comes to his status for the season and that he has outplayed his current contract, which will pay him $7.2 million in base salary in 2012. But Reed, who turns 34 in September, added that he has been staying in shape. It was hard to tell as he coached up nearly 100 kids Monday, but he was in good spirits.
Reed taught footwork to defensive backs and tossed footballs to wide receivers. He had youths break the huddle by chanting, “1, 2, 3, Ravens!” And afterward, he chatted with players and their parents in the concourse of the football stadium as they chowed down on chicken wings.
“This is what it’s about, coming out here, seeing these kids -- the smiles on their faces -- and working with them,” Reed said. “To help these kids, in any you can. … That’s what it’s about.”
Defensive tackle Bryan Hall attended the camp, and a surprise guest showed up, too: new defensive coordinator Dean Pees. He and Reed embraced and talked at midfield for a few minutes. Before Pees, who was promoted to coordinator in January, left, the two shook hands.
“It’s awesome. I saw him standing there, but I wasn’t sure who he was,” Reed said. “I looked up because I was talking to the coaches, but I see the Ravens logo, man. Coach Pees, all the guys on the team have so much respect for Coach Pees. He’s just a great man.”
Reed hasn’t explicitly said if his contract status is upsetting him and whether he plans on holding out from training camp (he missed the team’s mandatory minicamp in June). But he has been both supported and criticized by fans through Twitter. Reed believes he is misunderstood.
“Not everybody is going to understand,” Reed said. “You can’t please everybody. That’s just human nature. Everybody has their opinion, and that’s going to be there. You deal with it. You take it in stride. You take the good with the bad, the bad with the good. That’s part of life.”