Ed Reed On Leaving Baltimore: “It’s the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Went Through in My Life”

March 26, 2013 – 9:00 am by Chris Fedor

Ed Reed could have decided to retire following the Ravens Super Bowl title this season. His contract was up in Baltimore and his next steps could’ve been toward Canton and the Hall-Of-Fame. Instead, Reed wanted to continue his career. It was his hope that he would be able to do just that in Baltimore. That won’t be the case though. For the first time since he stepped foot on an NFL field, Reed will be wearing a different jersey. After 11 years with Baltimore, Reed and the Ravens are going their separate ways. The Ravens made this decision to let a number of their players leave in free agency and go younger this offseason. Baltimore decided they had other priorities this offseason and did not match the offer the Texans made to bring the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year to Houston. Even though he is 34 years old and not the same player he used to be, Reed will have a tremendous impact on the Texas defense that is looking for an on-field leader.

Ed Reed joined 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore with Glenn Younes to talk about where his thoughts are right now, on him believing he will always be a part of the Baltimore community, if he thought about retiring after winning the Super Bowl and why the medical facilities in Houston were such a draw for him.

Where his thoughts are right now:

“Oh man, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever went through in my life. I had to be able to put a lot of things to the side to be able to get through the business side of it man. I dealt with the business for a long time and I tried my best to give good advice to guys and they’re decision-making when they go through a process like this and keeping their job. There are so many people who supported me, so much love and so many people just texting me who I know are true fans I know and will always support me. I know there are people that are disappointed. I wanted to be in black and purple but at the same time I am 34 and the league knows that. When I say the league I mean every one, every team and everybody. Situations tend to stir things the other way. For businesses and the NFL when players start to get a little older they tend to think differently about them. Though my heart is different and I feel different. I really will miss playing in Baltimore. It’s like retirement man. It’s like I retired from Baltimore as  a Super Bowl champ after 11 years. I wouldn’t want any other game to be a loss in a Baltimore uniform, especially without 5-2. It was special man, it was special for a long time. A lot of relationships in the community. I support Baltimore just like I do New Orleans and just like I would do any other community, but Baltimore has really embraced me. I gave Baltimore everything I had. I gave Baltimore everything I had when it came to being on that football field. I heard the screams, I listened to the screams, I cheered with the screams and I really tried to be part of the city. I tried to be as regular as Joe and I ain’t talking Joe Flacco. Just regular Joe. A regular person as much as I could be when people saw me in the streets or people saw me in restaurants, when they came to my autograph signings, just all the support man. I can talk so much about it because, like I said, it’s not a farewell and I don’t want it to seem like a farewell or goodbye because I plan on being in Baltimore and to help Baltimore grow as a community. That process has grown into a Super Bowl champ. It has been a great process man.”

On him saying he will always be a part of Baltimore:

“Of course man. Developing those kids and helping them get to school, get to college, those athletes that come to my football camps and that is what it’s about. I’m said and done with for the most part. Only a few more years and that’s it. I mean I retire as a Super Bowl champ. I’m proud to say that my teammates and I, the coaching staff, the organization produced a Super Bowl team while I was there. It’s just business tend to do different things. I always pointed that out and I always got blasted for it to some degree. I remember listening to people call you. ‘We don’t need him.’ (Host: ‘Ship him out of town.’) All of that. A lot of people wrote me off in offseasons years ago. A lot of people like to point out the negatives. I had 58 tackles last year but I missed 14 of them. They like to point that stuff out but we won the Super Bowl and nobody threw the ball the way they liked to throw the ball on the Ravens. We get no respect. It’s always going to be the negative that comes out. You can’t worry about that. I really and truly have a lot of fans that’s in black and purple. I know that Ed Reed bleeds black and purple. I know I’m buckled up and I know I told people to stay buckled up and we would win a championship. After that did I know? No, I didn’t expect this. Did I want it? No, I didn’t want it. But do I understand it? Yes I understand it.”

Whether he thought about retiring after winning the Super Bowl:

“My heart really felt that we had an opportunity to do some special things because we had a core of people. I honestly didn’t know the true nitty-gritty of the business side of it. I didn’t know all the possibilities that would happen and transpired the last few weeks or so. I didn’t know all that would happen the way it did. That put things in perspective as well to let you know the team is kind of going in a different direction. Not rebuilding but in a sense rebuilding, to make different moves and it just wasn’t economically the best situation for me health-wise and my after football health. That’s the stuff I think about and I mention it all the time.”

On the medical facilities being a draw for him to Houston:

“That’s gotta be number one. Every offseason I think a player should assess himself once he gets a bunch of years under his belt playing in the NFL. There’s a reason the rules have changed the way they have changed because they want to protect players and protect your health. Not have to pay you as much when you’re out of the league to take care of yourself. Houston was my only visit. They reached out to me and when I came down the first thing I was thinking about was how this is going to be, how is the city and everything but the one thing that stuck out to me was their training room. The things they had in their training room and how they protect their product. Give their product the best possible chance to perform. How can you not like that as a player? How can you not look at that and say, ‘well they are doing certain things to try to give theirself the best opportunity to win’ but at the same time protect their players from a health standpoint. He can’t stop what the Lord has in store for us whether it’s any kind of catastrophic injury or you have to have surgery on this or that, you just can’t stop those things. Those things happen. God forbid, but they happen. If you can give yourself every opportunity to get on the football field and perform you have to take advantage of that. They really blew my mind with that training room and what they are doing there and how they protect the product. Not saying the Ravens don’t, they do, but there is a little more advancement from a medical standpoint and I think they have a template that the NFL should truly look at and implement to other teams because I think it’s going to help.”

Listen to Ed Reed in 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore here