After a long offseason of questions about his contract and future, Ravens safety Ed Reed made it clear Wednesday that he had turned the page.
In his world, all the off-field stuff gets put aside once training camp begins.
Im focused on the season. Thats all Im worried about right now: getting my teammates better, getting myself better and getting ready to go forward with the season, Reed said after an afternoon training camp practice in Owings Mills.
That doesnt mean his desires have changed; with the 44 million deal he signed in 2006 due to expire after this season, Reed obviously wants another contract. In fact, he said, he and the Ravens engaged in talks about a new deal a year ago.
The talks (have) already been there. I know (Ravens GM) Ozzie (Newsome) and them know I want to be here ... I wouldnt give myself to this football team like I do if I didnt want to be here, said Reed, who negotiates with the team himself rather than use an agent. But theres a business side to it. Not every story plays out the way you want it to.
But we will cross that bridge when we get there. I have a lot of respect for this organization, obviously. They gave me a chance in 2003 to come in here and play, and I know they have respect for me.
That mutual respect hasnt always been so clear. Reed said in March that his inability to land a new deal near the end of his Hall of Fame career was a sign of disrespect. He has used the d-word before, when he was coming back from hip surgery in 2010 and wanted to chart his own rehab.
The disrespectful thing I talked about was something that was (about) me seeing doctors and stuff like that, he said. Thats something you deal with. Its no different than what regular folks go through (with bosses) on their job. This is a job. Thats what a lot of people are missing.
He conceded that his decision not to use an agent may have lessened his chances of striking a new deal with the team.
"I didn't want a middleman in between. I felt like we could handle it," he said, "but you do need someone to kind of say the things you're not able to say because you are in the business."
In any case, now that daily practices have started and the season is approaching, Reed has put all that aside. For the first time in months, he fielded football questions Wednesday.
What's the early skinny on a Ravens defense adjusting to several new starters in the wake of crucial injuries and the departures of key veterans?
"I think we look great," Reed said.
What about the injuries he has dealt with in recent years?
Theyre still there, he said. I havent had nerve impingement (neck) surgery. I had a stinger (last year) in Jacksonville like I havent felt since high school. You have to be smart and make sure you go through your rehab and get yourself ready for the season.
As for the story behind his long offseason of discontent, Reed offered an explanation.
What transpired months back happened because of what I deal with family-wise and what Ive been going through for the past 11 years," he said. "Theres always a time when you have to assess yourself."
But that time is over for Reed, it appears, at least for now.