No doubt, Ravens fans are celebrating the news that All-Everything safety Ed Reed seems to have made the decision to play next season and maybe for several more after that. But I'm scratching my head, and it isn't because I forgot to use my Head & Shoulders this morning.
The fact that Reed is diverging from his normal offseason routine makes me nervous. This is the time of year when he usually keeps everybody guessing about his retirement plans and tries to use that as leverage in his seemingly endless contract dance with the team. That was definitely in play when he spoke of playing four or five more years at his Hall of Fame celebration at the University of Miami, but who really ever knows what Ed Reed is thinking?
He's a complex guy who always keeps everybody guessing, so maybe this change in offseason direction is just a head fake and he'll end up retiring this time. I doubt that, because the players who talk the most about retirement often end up being the ones who hang on the longest, but this was a bolt from the blue -- or from "the U" -- and I really don't know what to make of it.
The most obvious conclusion to draw would be that he's trolling for another big-money, long-term contract, but that might be a tough sell after one of his least-productive seasons ended with him banged up again.
I guess the important thing to take from all this is that the Ravens apparently won't have to fill another key position over the next few months. Reed is still one of the best safeties in the NFL, and it would be great if he were physically able to play into his late 30s. But I'm still not sure what to make of all this.
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