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Ed Reed: I’d retire before having Peyton Manning’s neck surgeries

Ed Reed

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (20) celebrates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-7. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)


Ravens safety Ed Reed will turn 33 as he enters his 10th NFL season in September, and he’s giving serious thought to the toll that injuries have taken on him. He’s also giving thought to other players who have been injured -- and he says that if he were in Peyton Manning’s situation, needing multiple neck surgeries, he would quit football.

“I don’t want to be like these guys having neck surgery, then you got to go have another surgery just to continue to play this game,” Reed told ESPN’s Ed Werder. “I love this game but I love myself more.”

Asked specifically whether he’d do the same thing that Manning has done, having neck surgeries in each of the last two offseasons, Reed was emphatic that he wouldn’t, saying “no” five times.

“No, no,” Reed said. “I mean, no. No. No, not my neck.”

Reed also acknowledged that he’s not the same player now that he was when he was younger, as he worries more about getting hurt in high-speed collisions.

“Definitely, you think about it,” Reed said. “You’ve got to be smart about tackling. I’m not hitting guys as much as I used to -- not hitting them trying to knock them out as much, sorry to say. You’re not tackling with your shoulder as much, just wrapping them up and getting them on the ground.”

Reed has had a great career and been one of the most explosive players in football over the last decade. But his comments are an indication that he sees the end coming soon.