Ed Reed had a front-row seat for Ray Lewis' swan song at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday in what would eventually be the Ravens' 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. But the reception the fans gave Lewis hasn't influenced the free safety's decision about his own future with the organization.
Reed, 34, is in the final year of his contract with the Ravens, who have not said anything publicly about whether they want the nine-time Pro Bowler to return. Reed has considered retirement the past couple of offseasons, but in the locker room beneath the stadium, he said his primary focus is on the Denver Broncos, the team's opponent in the AFC Divisional playoff round.
"I'm not thinking about that right now," Reed said. "I'm football. I'm completing this year, and like I always tell you, I assess it every year. I assess myself every year physically. A guy in football, if he doesn't do that, something's wrong. So I'm not worried about that. I'm not focused on that. Right now, it's playoffs, it's Denver, it's football."
Reed has been plagued by shoulder and neck injuries throughout his career, and it's been speculated that those ailments have contributed to a decline in his tackling skills.
But Reed still tied cornerback Cary Williams for the team lead in interceptions with four in the regular season. He almost collected his ninth interceptions in 12 postseason contests when rookie quarterback Andrew Luck tried to complete a pass to rookie tight end Coby Fleener in the first quarter.
Unlike Lewis, Reed does not have a Super Bowl ring, which might be enough to re-kindle his interest in remaining active in the NFL. That achievement might cap a Hall of Fame career, but Reed said it doesn't dominate his thoughts.
"Just play the game and let it come," he said. "We work out and prepare to go to the Super Bowl like all 31 other teams in the league. And only two are going to get to play and only one is going to get to win. So prepare for it. If it happens, it's going to be a blessing. That's what we're reaching for. If not, just keep on striving."