Thursday on Sirius XM NFL Radio, legendary Ravens safety Ed Reed said he wasn't "100 percent committed" to playing football this coming season. It's not about money, he says. It's about other things happening in his life.
"I know that time is kind of inching away at me. We do have a mandatory camp coming up that I'm still in deep thought about because other things are important to me now. I still know I can play at a high level. I can still go for another couple years physically. But other things is kind of taking place in my life right now and making me think about things differently."
If it's truly not about money ‒ Reed is scheduled to make $7.2 million in the last year of his current contract ‒ that's not necessarily a good thing for the Ravens, because back in April, it was about the money.
"For what I offer on the football field, for what I give on the football field and for what they know they're going to get, it's much more than these young guys out here today and what they're getting. And I'm talking at any every defensive back position right now, not just safety."
So now maybe it's about two things.
If you're a Ravens fan, you can relax. It's not yet time to start worrying yourself sick about a season that might not include Reed or Terrell Suggs. Especially since Reed said just a few hours after his Sirius interview that he does intend to play this year. From the Carroll County Times:
"It's not about retirement, it's about my focus in the offseason, health, family and football," said Reed, who has battled hip, neck and shoulder injuries in recent years. "This is the time of year where players think through things. My goal is to play football in the years to come."
So that should ease some concerns. There's also this: In recent years, randomly threatening retirement in the offseason has become kind of a tradition for Ed Reed. It's just something he does.
The same time Ed Reed leaves the Ravens could be the same time the Ravens stop being one of the league's best defenses. He's one of those lynchpin guys ‒ pull him out, and not only does it create a huge hole, but everything surrounding that hole gets a lot less stable, too. They'll still have some horses on defense, but the back end won't be nearly as strong as it's been for the last decade.
That's getting ahead of ourselves, though. This is something that's natural for a veteran player to experience. He gets older, family becomes more important, the body gets worn down, and it's natural to stop and wonder if it's all still worth it. It would be weird if he wasn't thinking of walking away from the game.
When the Ravens need him, though, he'll be there. He's still easily one of the best in the game. And there's still a lot of money on the table. It's perfectly human for Reed to think about these things, but in the end, I think it'll turn out that he's not yet ready to walk away.