Ed Reed to get an MRI, wants to play for Jets next year, considering retirement

FLORHAM PARK -- When it comes to his future as an NFL player, all options—a medical check-up, playing next year, retirement—appear to be on the table for Jets safety Ed Reed.

"What's next for me, man?" Reed said in response to a question as the Jets cleaned out their lockers at the team's practice facility on Monday. "I'm about go and do an MRI, and get back to the townhouse and pack my stuff up, and figure out where I'm going to go."

Reed, who will be 36 next September, is a future Hall of Famer playing out the twilight of his brilliant career. He achieved pretty much everything in his 11 seasons with the Ravens, finally getting a Super Bowl ring last year. But he had offseason hip surgery (his second hip procedure since 2010), signed with the Texans as a free agent, and wound up getting waived. In mid-November, he landed with the Jets, mostly to serve as a slower, wiser elder statesman for the team's young defenders, especially first-round draft pick Dee Milliner.

But now? Reed said the MRI would be precautionary, a kind of scheduled maintenance for the wear and tear all those harsh NFL miles have put on his hip, if not also the rest of his aging body. He wants to keep playing, and is even open to staying with the Jets, who brought him on this year at a pro-rated salary of $940,000 that accounted for just $387,000 against the salary cap, per spotrac.com.

"If the team will allow me," Reed said of returning to the Jets, "and everything goes according to my offseason (plan), yeah."

Update (3:24 p.m.): A source told Metro New York the Jets would consider bringing Reed back "if the price was right."

Pro Football Focus gave Reed a cumulative grade of minus-4.9 for the season, though the worst of that was acculumulated during his time with the Texans. Reed did get all three of his interceptions on the year—bringing his career total to 65, tying him for fifth in NFL history—in the season's last four weeks. Those three picks also tied him for the Jets' team lead for the 2013 season. And he did manage to earn positive grades from PFF in the season's final two games.
Reed also played 72 percent of the defense's snaps in Sunday's season-ending win in Miami.

Jets coach Rex Ryan has spoken highly of Reed since his arrival. After Sunday's victory, Ryan praised Reed in particular for his positive influence on Milliner, who struggled for much of the year but collected three interceptions in the season's last two games.

Reed had previously said that playing another year for Ryan would entice him to consider returning to the Jets. Now that Ryan is definitely coming back in 2014, Reed reiterated his own desire to be back at 1 Jets Drive.

"It would make it a lot easier, because obviously I know the system," Reed said.

Reed said he felt comfortable physically during the year, and that he got stronger as the season wore on because his hip was healing. He did mention that it helped having Thursdays off from practice toward the end of the year.

"The longer I get away from the surgical date, it's better," Reed said. "I feel I will be a lot stronger because I'll have a whole offseason to work out, and really balance my rehab out. My left side was actually tighter than my right because I was compensating more, as far as my workouts."

Asked what kind of role he sees for himself in 2014—as a complementary part or a main cog in a team's secondary—Reed said, "Whatever it takes to win."
What about retirement?

"Man, I gave thoughts to retiring three, four years ago," Reed answered. "There's always that possibility, man. That's something I've always evaluated after every season since my first year. This is a violent sport, the sport is changing a lot, and organizations are changing. It's just a different game now.

"I think I was pretty good for having two hip surgeries and being able to play in this defense after being on another team, (plus a) first year through free agency. I have no regrets."

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