This comes as a surprise to me because Reed always contemplated retirement when he was in the prime of his career. I remember staking out his youth football camps every year to ask whether he was going to report to training camp or call it quits.
Reed, who now plays for the New York Jets, has expressed concerns about the nerve impingement around his neck, and this affected his game because he was never the same tackler or hitter. For that reason, I always thought that Reed would have an easier time walking away from the game than Ray Lewis. Obviously, I was wrong.
Barring a major turnaround in his game over the next four games, this looks like a classic case of a Hall of Fame player who can't accept that it's time to retire. He will long be remembered as the best ball hawk in NFL history, a playmaker who struck fear in the best quarterbacks of this generation. I never saw a player who could turn a turnover on one end of the field into a game-changing touchdown as frequently as Reed. But he isn't that player anymore. He's not close to being that.
To be honest, this decision may be out of Reed's control. The way he played this season, I'm not sure another team will sign him next season, and that includes an extremely loyal Rex Ryan.
Here are some quotes from Reed:
"I don't think there's been much of a difference [in my game] outside of having a second hip surgery and maybe not moving as fast."
"I've been a standard at the position and it comes with the territory, being torn down."
It's not about being torn down. His accomplishments will always be revered. It's about analyzing the reality of the situation.
Reed just doesn't get it. He didn't get the message when the Baltimore Ravens let him walk in free agency. He didn't get the message when the Houston Texans cut him this year. And he's not getting the message that his play is hurting the Jets.
He misplayed the ball on Joe Flacco's 66-yard touchdown bomb in Baltimore, and he missed a tackle on Brian Hartline's 31-yard catch and run Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He has no interceptions and one pass defensed in 10 games this season. He's the 71st-ranked safety by Pro Football Focus.
It's crazy to think the last time Reed won a game that he played in was the Ravens' Super Bowl 10 months ago. He is winless in seven games with the Texans and three games with the Jets.
Why is this relevant to the Ravens blog? As soon as Reed decides to leave the game, he should sign a one-day contract and retire as a Raven. This day should come soon. That is, when Ed Reed realizes that he's no longer the same Ed Reed.