Holding court in the Ravens' locker room today, veteran free safety Ed Reed wasn't looking for the exit door.
With his six-year, $44 million contract expiring at the close of this season and with him set to become an unrestricted free agent, Reed said his only thoughts are on the Ravens' regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals and the playoffs.
"I'm not thinking about that right now," Reed said. "My focus is to finish the season off right now and prepare for the playoffs and go from there as far as my future. It's all about the near future. It's not about the offseason or anything like that."
Although he's dealt with a painful nerve impingement in his neck and shoulders for the past few years and has a torn labrum in his shoulder, Reed says he feels like he has more football in him.
"Not even thinking about that right now, not even talking about that right now," Reed said. That's not my concern. I know physically I feel like I can play, but also physically I have concerns for my life after football."
Reed was flagged for an illegal hit on wide receiver Victor Cruz during the Ravens' 33-14 win over the New York Giants. Reed led with his shoulder and made glancing contact with Cruz's facemask, but was penalized for making contact to the helmet and neck area of a defenseless receiver.
Reed said he has yet to hear from the NFL regarding any potential punishment. A suspension isn't expected, but a fine remains a possibility for the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"No, I haven't," Reed said when asked if the NFL has contacted him about a decision. "Actually not at all. It's an interesting situation for me to do the interview with Troy [Aikman] before the game about that and
knowing what happened. I just play the game. I let them make those decisions."
Reed acknowledged that he doesn't have the same mobility as he did when he entered the NFL in 2002 as a first-round draft pick from the University of Miami.
"It's definitely not what it used to be when I was 24 versus 34 right now," Reed said. "That's where the mental part comes into it, you slow down physically, but mentally you get a lot stronger and you understand the game more, which allows me to play the game a certain way and understand how to play the game and put myself in different situations."
Reed, 34, has four interceptions this season and was named to his ninth Pro Bowl.
"It's a blessing," Reed said. "Hats off to my teammates and peers who picked me to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl and the NFL in the Pro Bowl. Hats off to my teammates to allow me to do the things that I do and the coaching staff for all the work they put in to give us the information to take some of that film study off of us and just go out there and compete as players as men going against men out on the football field. It's just been a blessing."
Reed said he doesn't think the Pro Bowl should be abolished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, which has been mentioned publicly by Goodell.
"I think he needs to keep the Pro Bowl, it's for the fans," Reed said. "I always thought it should have stayed in Hawaii because it's a trip away and it's an awesome vacation, good for Hawaii, good for us to get away. Yeah, it's not as competitive in the first couple of minutes of the game because it is a vacation. It's a good time over there and it's a lot of good times and little umbrellas. You got to give guys time to get acclimated to the game.
"Trust me, it's as competitive as it gets it's kind of like the all-star game for basketball. You go hard. But, at the same time, you want to protect guys and not have nothing serious happen over there. I think the fans understand that to some degree. It is a game where a lot of points get scored because guys understand as a respect level as players as we play the game that we know what's going on. It's a respect thing."
Reed added that he thinks the Pro Bowl should go back to being played after the Super Bowl instead of the week prior to the big game.
"It's an all-star game," Reed said. "If it was the last game like it used to be, it was a lot of fun then. I don't like the fact that they switched it and it's now before the Super Bowl. It kind of takes away from it I think because the one thing you hated as a pro bowl player is to be there and when the super Bowl team came and if they won it that team was going to be introduced last at the Pro Bowl. Me and Ray [Lewis] used to always talk about it my first year there like, 'Man, I hate that part.' We want to be those guys getting introduced and that was kind of like the thing for all players if you was in the Pro Bowl and you were that last team introduced it's a respect thing."
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