Ed Reed says he'll assess his future after the Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed might play his final game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. Or he might not. If Reed knows his future, he isn't saying. 

For the second day this week, Reed, who is 34 and in the last year of his contract with the Ravens, was asked questions about his future. And for the second day, Reed said only that he planned to come back.

"I’ll assess those things after this game. I’m just soaking all this in right now," he said as the Ravens prepare for the Super Bowl. "I’m not thinking about next year. Usually, I’m thinking about next year right now because I’m not in this game. 

"I’m so far away from tomorrow, honestly. I’m just thinking about right now, today, just soaking all this up."

Players such as Ray Lewis, who have the luxury of choosing their final game, have done that in a variety of ways.

Brett Favre tearfully retired in a press conference and came back only months later. Jonathan Ogden called up Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome and simply said he was finished.

Most players don't get that option due to injuries and diminishing skills. 

Reed has expressed concern in the past about the toll the game has taken on his body. He said has played with a nerve impingement for "six or seven years," and tore his labrum this season, among his other injuries over the years.

All Reed really wants is to walk away, literally and figuratively, on his own terms.

"Hopefully," he said. "I pray that I'm walking away, on a positive note. But I know how Father Time goes. Your skills start to diminish a little bit, so I see that."

Ravens center Matt Birk, a 17-year veteran, said he truly believes Reed doesn't know what his future holds because it's so hard to make an accurate assessment until the offseason.

"If you don't know, you don't know," Birk said. "The way I look at it, I'm playing until one day I wake up and I'm not, until I'm convinced that I can't do it or don't want to do it anymore. 

"It's a long season, physically, mentally, spiritually, you get tired. You're not really in a great frame of mind to make that decision."

For now, Reed is content with enjoying the experience of his first, and possibly only, Super Bowl.

“Deion (Sanders) just put it in perspective walking out here," he said. "He won two and he thought he was going to go back, and he didn’t. This is it right here. This is the only Super Bowl that’s going on this year, right now, that matters.”

If Reed does choose to walk away from the game, he'll likely be on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in a few years.

"He’s definitely going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer," said linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. "In my opinion there are only two safeties that come up as the greatest safeties of all time, it’s him and Ronnie Lott. 

"He’s a great player; it’s amazing that he gets to play here at the Super Bowl at home in New Orleans. With all of the tragedy and stuff that he has gone through with his brother passing away, that happened in the playoffs as well, so for him to reflect on how he felt when that happened and to be here now, he’s come strides.”

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