Reed says he's playing, but wants new contract

Ravens Pro Bowl safety is recovering from hip surgery, hopes to be ready for opener

July 07, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Ed Reed isn't retiring this season. In fact, it appears that he is looking to the future.

Reed has contacted the Ravens about a new contract, the Pro Bowl safety told a Baltimore radio talk show this week.

One of the most dominant safeties in NFL history, Reed has three years remaining on a six-year contract extension that he signed June 2006. He is scheduled to earn $6 million in 2010, $6.5 million in 2011 and $7.2 million in 2012.

"I'm not making it a big deal," Reed said in a Tuesday interview on 105.7 The Fan's Norris and Davis Show. "[But] I think it needs to be taken care of."

Reed, who had contemplated retirement since the end of last season, said he told the Ravens that he will play this season. He recently estimated that he is 35 percent after having hip surgery.

Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said the team would not comment on Reed's contract request. In an e-mail, Steele wrote that "Ed said he is playing this year, and we are looking forward to seeing him in camp."

The Ravens have a history of rewarding their star players with big contracts, but it could be risky to do so again with Reed considering his hip injury as well as his nerve impingement, which has caused him pain for the past couple of seasons.

"I'm not going to ask the Ravens about anything if I'm not going to play any much longer," he said. "I appreciate the opportunity that the Ravens have given me. I'm not about to ask them for anything if I'm not going to be playing. My focus is to get myself back. I'm coming back for at least for one more year."

It was four years ago when Reed signed a six-year contract extension worth $40 million (a deal that officially took effect in 2007). According to his agent, Reed received a $15 million signing bonus in the largest deal ever given to a safety at that time.

In his interview on 105.7 FM, Reed seemed to base his pursuit of a new deal on the fact that he has maintained his level of play while other safeties have not. He pointed out that Ken Hamlin (who signed a $38 million deal with Dallas in July 2008) and Roy Williams (the eighth overall pick in the 2002 draft – the same draft where Reed was selected 24th) have since moved on to other teams. Hamlin recently signed with the Ravens because of Reed's uncertain status.

"If the negotiations continue and we can do some things in the process, I'm going to welcome it," Reed said. "I'm not saying that I'm not going to call the Ravens again because we have to have some conversations. Right now, my focus is to get myself back to 110 percent and back to a 107-yard return against the Philadelphia Eagles."

Reed said that he is still hoping to play in the season opener at the New York Jets, but he isn't going to rush his recovery. He acknowledged that he could miss a portion of the regular season.

"I believe with the hip, it could be a realistic thing where it could be October, November and December," Reed said. "We don't know. It's going to be dependent on how I feel and what have I done to get back into full-throttle game shape."

Reed is a six-time Pro Bowl safety who was named the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2004. He led the league in interceptions in 2004 and 2008, the same year when he set the NFL record with a 108-yard interception return against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last season, Reed missed four games in December because of a hip injury. He returned to play the regular-season finale at Oakland and two playoff games, where he made two interceptions.

Sometime after the draft, Reed underwent hip surgery in Vail, Colo., where he said doctors needed to reconstruct his hip.

Reed said he is moving around now but he still can't train.

"I have some quickness," he said. "If we had to play the Super Bowl now, one game, I think I could go out there and smart it up a little bit, using the mind a little more than the body just to give our team something."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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