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Ed Reed weighs in on Tom Brady, Deflategate, discusses 'integrity of the game'

Retired Ravens star free safety Ed Reed had a measured take on the controversy surrounding the New England Patriots and Tom Brady following an investigation that found the Super Bowl winning quarterback probably was aware of team employees deflating footballs.

"It's a lot of things that affect the integrity of the game," Reed said during cornerback Lardarius Webb's charity softball game at M&T Bank Stadium. "We make lessons out of guys like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice when it comes to harsh things that affect the integrity of the game. That's what we're about protecting.

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"If Brady made some choices, we've got to suffer the consequences. That's for all of us. None of us are perfect, but if you make decisions then you've got to suffer the consequences."

Reed was asked if he considers the deflating of footballs gamesmanship or outright cheating.

"It's definitely gamesmanship," said Reed, who had epic battles with Brady on the field. "For the players, it's about having an equal playing field. You heard about all the science and research. I played football with a smushed-up can.

"It doesn't matter to me about the fooball. It's whatever. We're on a professional level. We set an example. That's what it comes down to. It's always going to be a 'Gate' What's the next 'Gate'? Wooden gate?"

When asked about the Patriots' reputation, Reed said: "They've been calling them guys cheaters. That's the news, that's the media. They've built that up around themselves at this point."

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith wasn't interested in discussing the so-called Deflategate.

"I'm glad my name is my name and I have to deal with my issues, I think that's going to be on them," Smith said. "I don't really have time to be concerned with that. Whatever they do, there's going to be consequences for their actions. I could care less. I think Tom Brady could care less what I think about it, too."

There are two statues outside M&T Bank Stadium, one of Johnny Unitas and another of Ray Lewis. Does Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, want one built?

"No statue, man, I don't think so," Reed said. "It's not up to me. I'm grateful to have played for such great fans. I don't need a statue for all that. I'm blessed I made it this far."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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