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Reed and Flacco exchange words (playfully) at practice

With the media assembled -- their cameras rolling and notepads being scribbled upon -- beside the primary entrance inside the Ravens’ indoor practice facility, quarterback Joe Flacco and Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed walked out together for the start of Thursday afternoon’s practice.

Flacco and his backup, Tyrod Taylor, turned left. Reed and veteran linebacker Jarret Johnson veered to the right. When Flacco and Reed got about the length of a first down apart, Flacco turned and uttered two words to the teammate who publicly criticized his offense this week.

“[Bleep] you,” the quarterback said playfully.

“[Bleep] me?” Reed responded. “[Bleep] you.”

That good-natured encounter in front of the Baltimore media, Reed said, was the closest Flacco and Reed came to a confrontation over comments the safety made in a Monday interview with Sirius/XM satellite radio. Later Thursday afternoon, on a national conference call, Reed said the team has moved past the incident and is looking ahead to Sunday’s AFC championship game.

“It’s about the Ravens and New England playing football,” Reed said. “All that other stuff is to the side, man. That was about the last game. It’s irrelevant to what [we are] doing right now.”

Reed, who on Monday said Flacco was a bit “rattled” and lost grasp of the offense in the team’s 20-13 win over the Houston Texans last week, maintained his stance that the media took a part of the interview and ran with it instead of using the whole thing. Reed said he was critical of the entire team, not just Flacco, who was 14-for-27 for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

Reed gave an exclusive interview to ESPN on Wednesday, and a day later he claimed that ESPN cut out parts of that interview, too. “They showed what they wanted to show,” he said, because “they wanted to pub it even more and cause some flack around here.” Reed said his comments did not create internal strife in the locker room because the players are already honest with each other.

He did, however, admit he should have kept his criticisms from the AFC divisional round win in-house.

“What’s said around here to ourselves probably shouldn’t be broadcast publicly because the public would never understand,” Reed said. “Even fans in Baltimore would never understand.”

Flacco admitted Wednesday that he was surprised initially by the comments, but quickly moved on. Reed said he and Flacco talked briefly about the controversy, but that he “didn’t have to say nothing, man.” As Reed put it, it was just two of the team’s leaders making sure “we’re good.”

“I know Joe is a smart quarterback,” Reed said. “He’s our quarterback regardless of anything.”

Now that Reed and Flacco have both responded to reporters about the Sirius/XM interview, the controversy should die down, and the focus of reporters’ questions will shift to the challenge of facing the top-seeded Patriots, who have scored 37.3 points per game during their nine-game winning streak.

At the end of Thursday’s call, Reed made sure to gave a final vote of confidence to the Ravens offense.

“Our offense has been great, man,” he said. “There’s a reason we have gotten to this point.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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