Ravens' Reed emphatic: 'I'll be playing next year'

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed will not retire after the Super Bowl, he said Thursday, according to a tweet by the Baltimore Sun‘s Jeff Zrebiec.

Ed Reed said “I’ll be playing next year. Next question.”

— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) January 24, 2013

Reed has contemplated retirement in the past. In January 2010, Reed told reporters he was “50-50″ about returning. In May 2012, Reed said he wasn’t 100 percent committed to playing this season.

He obviously returned each of those times, but the questions were likely to be raised again during interviews at the Super Bowl. Because of Ray Lewis’ impending departure, retirement will be a focus. Reed’s contract with the Ravens also ends after the season. Reed’s comments Thursday end any speculation that would have hung over him.

Whether Reed returns to Baltimore remains to be seen. Due to a combination of age and injuries, Reed’s play has leveled off some in recent years. Statistically, he has been solid; this season, he intercepted four passes and recorded 49 solo tackles, and he started all 16 games. But he is no longer the dynamic player opposing teams had to plan around, as he was in 2004 when he was the AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Still, he will likely have other suitors on the free agent market, if he chooses to test his options.

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