Holding a huge unlit victory cigar inside the Ravens' locker room after winning the Super Bowl, free safety Ed Reed made it abundantly clear he wants to keep playing football.
"This is not it!" Reed said. "This is not it! I'm not done. I'll reassess things the way I always do and we'll tune in and get back to you all. It's all about the moment. I'm not even thinking about this. I love this game. If I'm able to do it, I'll be doing it."
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After toppling the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Reed spoke with coach John Harbaugh about his ambition to return.
Although both sides seem to want the same thing and Reed isn't currently inclined toward retirement after contemplating it in the past, it's a complicated situation.
Reed's six-year, $44.4 million contract has expired. He's 34 years old and has a significant injury history, including a nerve impingement in his neck, a torn shoulder labrum and a surgically repaired hip from a few years ago. Reed said following the game that he played through sprained medial collateral ligaments in both knees.
Although Reed's range has declined, he remains an instinctive defender who had four interceptions in the regular season and picked off 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh is hopeful that a compromise can be reached. Reed is scheduled to meet with general manager Ozzie Newsome in the next few weeks to discuss his status.
Reed has no representation currently, but has met with agents within the past six months and is expected to eventually hire a new one for any negotiations that might come up.
“We had that conversation on the bus ride away from the stadium actually,” Harbaugh said. "He and I both agreed that we want him back. I want him back, and Ed wants to come back.
“You never know how these things are going to work out, but we are going to work like crazy to work it out because Ed’s a Baltimore Raven. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”