Sep/24/13 08:50 AM Filed in: Ed Reed
BALTIMORE — Ed Reed insisted it won’t be an emotional day for him. His return to the place where he played for 11 seasons to face an organization he won a Super Bowl with seven months ago is just “another away game right now.”
But as Reed continued to talk, he offered a glimpse of the emotional tug he probably will experience Sunday when he returns to Baltimore to face the Ravens as a member of the Houston Texans.
He admits to thinking about the short drive to M&T Bank Stadium from a downtown hotel and the familiar walk past security guards whom he has shaken hands with on game days for years. But that’s where things get fuzzy because his destination has never been the visitor’s locker room.
“I still got a lot of thinking to do,” Reed said Thursday in a conference call with local reporters. “My time in Baltimore was awesome, every bit of it. I have no regrets from when [General Manager Ozzie Newsome] called me on draft day, to being in the old facility, practicing in the snow with [coach Brian Billick] and just everything we went through with Coach [John Harbaugh] and growing. Iron sharpening iron. I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great friends.
“I always will be a Raven. That’s where I was kind of raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing, and we did a lot of special things. That’s something that can never be taken away, and it never will. There’s a lot of love there.”
Reed, the ball-hawking safety who has built a future Hall of Fame career on surprising quarterbacks, seems intent on keeping everybody guessing until the very end. Signed by the Texans in late March, Reed has yet to suit up for a game with his new team because he’s recovering from April surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. He said he’s still dealing with tightness and soreness and he has a “lot of work to do” before he returns to game action.
“I’m not confident about nothing but going day-to-day, the way I’ve been,” Reed said when asked whether he’s confident he’ll play Sunday. “You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”
Never mind that none of his former teammates believe he would miss an opportunity to play again in front of fans who cheered him loudly every time he got his hands near the football for more than a decade. Never mind that former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, his longtime teammate and close friend, will be at M&T Bank Stadium to be inducted to the team’s Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. Never mind that Reed has been practicing for several weeks and his current coach, Gary Kubiak, said Wednesday the nine-time Pro Bowl selection is as close to playing as he has been.
In the 10-plus minute conference call, Reed was at his mercurial best, talking more about “coaching” against the Ravens than playing against them — for whatever that’s worth.
“Just looking at the whole team, it just looks a little different for me, especially being on this side of things,” Reed said. “I was looking at it last night like, ‘Wow, this is something that I’m really coaching against my boys.’ ”
Asked whether he anticipated being emotional Sunday, Reed said “not at all,” comparing it to all the games he played against the Indianapolis Colts and standout wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who was his former roommate in college at Miami.
“It’s like playing against your brothers again while I’m out there coaching,” Reed said. “I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. It’s different being here and coming to see my guys, who I’ve been fighting with for a long time.”