Baltimore Ravens starting safety Ed Reed told Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio today that he's "not 100 percent committed" to playing this season, triggering a collective gasp among Ravens fans who have dealt with more than their fair share of upsetting news regarding their defense this offseason.
This isn't the first time in his career that Reed has threatened to hang up his cleats, and it's certainly not the first time in 2012 he's declared interest in retirement. In March, the matter seemed to be weighing on Reed's mind. He claimed, practically in the same breath, that he wasn't sure if he'd play this season and that he'd like four or five more seasons with Baltimore.
Then, just a few days later, Reed spoke out again, saying that he felt the Ravens "disrespected" him, presumably because they didn't respond to his earlier comments about wanting to stick around. Reed is in the final year of his contract, and he clearly hoped that his claim that he has up to five seasons left in him would have them come calling with an offer.
Indeed, NFL Network's Albert Breer believes that Reed's latest comments are part of his strategy to land a new contract with the Ravens. I am prone to agree with this sentiment; Reed is attempting to play a high-risk game of chicken with Baltimore in order to gain leverage in contract negotiations.
It's more than likely that Reed will blink before the Ravens will. Though Reed is a major part of Baltimore's talented defense, he's but one major player on the team that has his hand out, waiting for a new, satisfactory deal to come his way.
Right now, star running back Ray Rice is holding out and not signing his franchise tender while he awaits a long-term deal. The Ravens are also trying to negotiate an extension with quarterback Joe Flacco. All this is happening while Baltimore deals with a sticky salary-cap situation, which means Reed's new deal may have to wait until the 2012 season wraps up.
Reed's comments aren't an original tactic—neither in the NFL nor for him. As such, I believe the chances are slim that, come September, he won't be taking the field with his longtime team.
There's bad blood between the two sides—or at least there seems to be, considering how Reed again reiterated today his feelings of disrespect—but when it comes down to it, Reed will play in 2012 and work to earn the new, long-term deal he feels he deserves.