Whilst watching the Sound FX of the Baltimore Ravens AFC Championship win today I had a very sad football epiphany; if the Ravens win the Super Bowl, Ed Reed is very likely to retire. So as an true sports writer would do, I decided to write and article about it, and after a half hour of metaphorically scribbling away in Word I had what I believed to be a good piece on why Ray Lewis might not have been the only one retiring after the Super Bowl. Alas, a few hours later as I scrolled through my twitter feed what would you know, the Ravens official feed highlighted an article with the words “It’s NOT Ed Reed’s last ride. See why.” After the initial disappointment of realizing that my article had become obsolete I decided to look at the issue from another angle. If the Ravens won the Super Bowl, should Ed Reed hang them up?
The dynamic, Hall of Fame worthy safety out of the University of Miami has flirted with retirement in the past after battling with multiple groin, hip, neck and shoulder injuries from the 2009 campaign onwards, and whilst most believed it wasn’t 100% serious, the extent to which Reed had to battle and play through pain during this recent portion of his career probably had him closer to retirement than many dared to believe.
As a long time Ravens fan and having owned his shirt since 2005 I have been dreading the day that #20 hung up his cleats because whilst he may not have been fun to play against for many quarterbacks, he has simply been a joy to watch as he leads passers on his merry little dance before breaking their hearts with a spectacular interception and taking it to the house.
Reed is now 34 and has had a great career that has seen him go to nine Pro Bowls and as much as I will love seeing him carry on his career even if he wins the Lombardi trophy I can’t help but think that the risk may actually outweigh the reward if he comes back next year. Think about it like this, his contract expires after this season and at 34 he’s unlikely to be compensated in a fashion that he feels he deserves, and if he asks for too much the business side of football might rear its ugly head and leave Ed as a free agent and looking for another team. I know for a fact that he would be snapped up in a instant, but does he really want to finish his career with another team even if he has won a Super Bowl?
Should Ed Reed really carry on playing after this deep a Super Bowl run, whether it ends in jubilation or heartbreak? If he does come back he will likely have a very incentive and playing time based contract due to his age and past injuries, would playing that extra time be worth the risk when he already has a Super Bowl ring on his finger?
My opinion is this, if the Ravens win it all, Ed Reed calls up Ray Lewis and asks if they can have a joint retirement bash which Ray agrees to and they both set of into the sun as possibly the two greatest Ravens and most successful Miami Hurricanes of all time. If however the Ravens get bowled over by young Colin Kaepernick and Co. then I think that the Ravens will be very keen in bringing Reed back in an effort to lead another run to the big game so maybe he should come back and give it another year in that case. In either scenario it will be down to what kind of state his body and mind are in and comments said in the run up to the Super Bowl can be full of enthusiasm, but the real test for Ed will come after the game has been played and takes a little step away from the game, will he still want to carry on?