I’ve been following the Ed Reed controversy about his contract status and subsequent venting about the front office, and I’ve found it oddly compelling and disturbing. Like a lot of folks, I’ll state for the record that I’m a huge fan of Reed’s on-field exploits, from all the picks to the punt returns and blocked kicks—I even love the laterals, because they show the man can improvise. But I’ve lost respect for the man.
Last night, Reed spoke with 105.7 The Fan’s Glenn Younes, who I figured would ask some tough questions. But Younes spent much of the time hyping an upcoming football camp sponsored by The Ed Reed Foundation. It turns out that Younes is actually the director of Reed’s foundation, which he failed to mention during the talk. That’s fodder for another rant, but it explains why some of the questions were more beach balls than softballs. (And if Younes is volunteering as director of the Ed Reed Foundation, good for him. If not, he might have some explaining to do.)
Anyway, I was hoping—after all the tone-deaf tweets and comments Reed has made over the past few months—to come away with some new understanding of his perspective. That didn’t happen. Instead, it simply reinforced my view that Reed is delusional, and so are we.
Reed signed a six-year contract in 2006 that made him the highest paid safety in the NFL. He’s slated to make more than $7 million this year. BTW, it would take an average city schoolteacher about 200 years to make that much money. But that’s not enough for Reed, who, like many athletes, talks out both sides of his mouth trying to explain away this sort of greed.
He feels disrespected and says the front office is to blame. For what? Not offering a contract extension to a player who’s been hinting at retirement for years? That seems like a prudent approach considering Reed’s declining health and attitude. Did they coerce him into signing in 2006? No. Have his paychecks bounced? I don’t think so. Have the Ravens not honored the contract? They have, but Reed may not, saying he has to do what’s right for his family and for all the players in the NFL.
That made me chuckle. With our collective cash lining his pockets, Reed already did right by his family by inking that deal in ’06. And Reed certainly had his chance to stick up for all NFL players during the CBA negotiations, and I do recall a member of the Ravens secondary stepping up and taking on a leadership position at that time. But that was Dominique Foxworth.
No, this is all about Reed. Some fans might buy the argument that this is just the way business is done in the NFL because players have no leverage, but what happened to simply honoring the contract you signed. Come on, guy, you’re making $7 million.
And you know what? The Ravens could have used some support from Reed this off-season, especially after losing key players to free agency and Terrell Suggs to an injury. Imagine if Reed had declared his fierce loyalty to the team and said he was confident about the upcoming season. He’d have been a god in this town.
Instead, he skipped mandatory mini-camp and joked to Younes that he couldn’t find someone to cut his grass. That’s a poke in the eye to not just the organization, but to fans like you and me.
Through it all, some observers keep saying that it’s just “Ed being Ed” and all will be forgiven come September when he takes the field, makes that first pick, and an entire stadium chants his name. I hope exactly that happens, but if it does, I probably won’t be the only one hearing, “Greeeeeeeeeeeeed.”