Defeat has Ravens' Reed mulling retirement
INDIANAPOLIS -- If you believe Ed Reed, one of his last plays as a Baltimore Raven could be a free-wheeling, loose play that perhaps cost the Ravens any chance they had of mounting a comeback against the Indianapolis Colts.
Reed's inability to protect the football after he had intercepted Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning in the third quarter quashed any hope the Ravens might have harbored of overcoming a 14-point deficit as the Colts cruised to a 20-3 victory in an AFC Divisional playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night.
After the game, Reed, a six-time Pro Bowler who is one of the best ball-hawking safeties to play the position, acknowledged that he is considering retirement.
"I've been thinking about it," said Reed, who has returned seven interceptions for touchdowns and is the only player in NFL history to score off an interception, a recovered fumble, a blocked punt and a punt return. "It kind of hit me on the sideline. It hit me now because I don't know how much I'm going to be able to have going forward. It'll be a long offseason just thinking about. It hurts just thinking about it."
Reed missed four games this season because of a strained groin, and played last year despite a nerve impingement in his neck. He labeled his percentage on returning as "50-50."
"It's my decision at the end of the day to play with injuries," he said.
"We'll see. I take good advice from my doctors. It's been great up to this point, fighting through. I wanted to battle this year even with the injuries I had last year and the injuries I had this year. There were no excuses coming into this season about injuries. That's why I was never frustrated when I injured my groin. Injuries come especially at this point in my career. You fight through. You lose like this, it's hard to lay it down. At the end of the day, you have to think about family. I have a family now. We shall see."
If Saturday night is his last game in the NFL, Reed's ability to dazzle and befuddle were on full display.
Against the Colts, Reed gathered his seventh interception in seven career postseason games, tying him with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel for the most playoff interceptions among active players.
The pickoff occurred in the third quarter when Reed stepped in front of a long pass by Manning to wide receiver Pierre Garcon. (It was the fourth time in his past five meetings that Reed had intercepted Manning.)
But while racing down the left sideline, Reed, who seemed to dangle the football away from his body with his right arm, had the ball punched out from behind by Garcon at the Colts' 27. The loose ball was recovered by tight end Dallas Clark.
Reed chastised himself for his gaffe, saying, "You make a pick and turn it over. You can't do that. You've got to give our offense a chance to score."
Said coach John Harbaugh: "Great play by Garcon. Obviously, that hurt us. Just like any ball carrier out in the open, you have to put that ball away. If the ball comes off your body low like that, it's got a chance to be knocked out."
Not only did the play return possession to Indianapolis, the miscue was also reminiscent of Reed's ill-advised lateral attempt on a punt return that cemented the Colts' 17-15 win against the Ravens on Nov. 22.
Reed seemed to make amends for his transgression when he intercepted Manning again in the third quarter, grabbing a long pass intended for Clark. Reed returned the ball 24 yards to Indianapolis' 11, but the play was negated when cornerback Corey Ivy was cited for interfering with Clark.
"I didn't know there was a flag thrown, and after I saw the replay, didn't think a flag should have been thrown on that pass interference," Reed said. "But I'm not the ref. Ain't nothing you can do about it. Once the call is made, you play the game."
Reed has always been able to read and react in a split second. His assessment of his future will take slightly longer.
"There's too many emotions flying right now to make a decision," Reed said. "You'll know soon."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Steelers believe Wheaton ready to step in as No. 2 receiver
- Steelers notebook: Mitchell apologizes for taunting penalty vs. Bills
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu not concerned with being old man among safeties
- Steelers defensive end Thomas is finding success on the field
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers