Ed Reed will keep everyone guessing until the very end

Ravens safety Ed Reed’s comments last night about his future to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, one of The Sun’s sister papers, reminded me of something team owner Steve Bisciotti said last month.

Asked whether he had gotten a definitive indication from Reed that he planned to return for the 2012 season, Bisciotti said Feb. 1 at the State of the Ravens address: “Ed doesn’t give definitive answers.”

Bisciotti then chuckled, but the point remains. Trying to predict what the always-interesting safety is going to say or do next is an exercise in futility.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to listen to him and to observe him closely for clues. After the divisional playoff victory over the Houston Texans in which he played probably his best game of the season, Reed openly talked about retirement. A week later after the Ravens’ AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots, Reed left the locker room without speaking to reporters. However, he did belt out a couple of lines from the Teddy Pendergrass song, “Love TKO” as he walked out of the building, singing, “I think I better let it go …”

Was that a clue that he was leaning toward retiring rather than coming back for his 11th NFL season? Apparently not because a couple of weeks later, he told Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that he would play in 2012.

And he sort of confirmed that last night before his induction into the University of Miami Hall of Fame, though not before adding some more ambiguity to his situation.

Asked whether he planned to return for the 2012 season, Reed told the Sun Sentinel, “There’s a lot of talk out there. I’m not going to say I’m 50-50 because I’m not. I want to play football, but it’s something me and my team have been discussing the last couple of weeks. My partners, they do a great job of making sure I know the pros and cons of what’s going on with my body and with the organization and where we’re at. I plan on doing it, but depending, it could change.”

So, there’s that. Reed, 33, followed that up by saying, “If it was up to me, I’d be with a walking cane out there. I don’t know, man. I think four to five years is a reality for me.”

Those comments stand in stark contrast to what Reed has said in the past. Not only has he hinted of retirement, but he has warned that he will not put his quality of life in jeopardy by continuing to play with significant neck and back issues.

Now he’s talking about four to five more years? He’s actually only signed with the Ravens for one more season, and he said last night, “Baltimore is home for me unless they say otherwise.”

Bisciotti was asked about Reed’s future in an interview with The Sun on Monday and said, “We’ll either have to get him signed to an extension, he has to say that he’s done or we have to face the possibility of seeing him play in another uniform. That’s the reality of this.”

The reality is also that it’s not worth fretting over, simply because the Ravens likely have no idea what Reed’s future holds or what he is going to say or do next.  

Sometimes with Reed, it’s just a matter of timing. He can be revealing and charming to the media one day and uninterested and dismissive the next. He’ll heap praise on teammates and opponents one moment, then openly criticize his quarterback shortly thereafter. Heck, he interrupted one post-game interview this season to playfully chastise reporters for not asking him about golfer Fred Couples and his President Cup-winning U.S. team.

The point is that trying to determine what Reed’s plans are by dissecting his latest comments is pointless. You’re better off just focusing on enjoying the time you still have left to watch him play football. Because, as we all know, he might be unpredictable, but he’s always entertaining.

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