GM confirms Ed Reed will play in 2012

Running back Ricky Williams has retired, and center Matt Birk is still contemplating it. But you can remove safety Ed Reed from the list of Ravens players who are questionable to return.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed that Reed will play in 2012. Reed, who turns 34 when the season begins, has been considering retirement after every season since the end of the 2008 season because of concerns over his nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder.

"He told John [Harbaugh, Ravens coach] that he's going to get himself prepared to come back and play in 2012," Newsome said at the NFL combine.

When it comes to the Ravens' defensive leaders, I've always said that Reed would have an easier time leaving the game than linebacker Ray Lewis. But I truly never thought Reed was going to retire this offseason. In my mind, the real question is whether he can last a full season.

He missed a total of 10 games in 2009 and 2010 because of injuries, and he struggled at the end of the 2010 season because of a shoulder injury (which he acknowledged led to missing tackles in four straight games). Reed finished with three interceptions last season, his fewest for a 16-game season.

Still, this is good news for the Ravens. When healthy, Reed is a dangerous playmaker. His presence alone affects games because quarterbacks avoid throwing deep against Reed. The eight-time Pro Bowl player has intercepted 57 career passes, which is the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2002.

“He was in great shape this year; he stayed healthy throughout the year. I think he is really excited about that,” Harbaugh told reporters at the combine, via the team's website. “He played a lot better than what some people want to think. He played really well.”