Reed tells Ravens that he's returning for 11th NFL season

Any concern that the RavensEd Reed might follow Ricky Williams lead and retire ended recently when the perennial Pro Bowl safety spoke with coach John Harbaugh and confirmed that he plans to return for an 11th NFL season.

That was the anticipation among Ravens’ officials all along, but the mercurial 33-year-old has flirted with retirement in the past and spoke of it on several occasions during the past couple of seasons when he hampered by hip, neck and shoulder issues.

“He met with John and he told John that he’s going to get himself prepared to come back and play in 2012,” Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said when asked about Reed on the second full day of the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Reed, 33, made the Pro Bowl for an eighth time this past season, but he had a relatively quiet campaign and even drew some criticism as a result of some tackling issues and his failure to make as many big plays as Ravens’ fans have grown accustomed to from the safety.

Reed, who did play in all 18 of the Ravens’ games after sitting out six in 2010 and four in 2009, had two interceptions in the season-opening victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and just one in the next 15 games. However, he played two strong playoff games, including making a potential game-saving interception in the end zone in the divisional round victory over the Houston Texans.

“He played a lot better than what some people sometimes want to think,” Harbaugh said today. “He played really well. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Reed didn’t speak to reporters after the season-ending loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. However, Harbaugh said that there was little doubt in his mind that Reed, whose contract expires after the 2012 season, would return.

 “It was kind of funny. A couple people asked me and said, ‘Ed’s coming back?  Isn’t that great?’ I didn’t know that was an issue, to my understanding,” Harbaugh said. “Ed is so far along in his career. You’ve got to respect what he’s done. You leave that in his hands. He told us right after the season that he was coming back next year and looking forward to it. He was in great shape this year. He stayed healthy throughout the whole year.”

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