Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reed Talks but Walks into Camp Saving Face for Himself, Ravens

Reed Talks but Walks into Camp Saving Face for Himself, Ravens

Baltimore July 31, 2012

As training camp began last week for the Baltimore Ravens there was no buzz about who decided not to show up. All were expected and all showed unlike many places; most notably Jacksonville where star running back Maurice Jones-Drew was a no show due to an ongoing contract dispute. 

Throughout this off season there was talk that Ravens Safety Ed Reed would not show up for training camp until he was able to renegotiate his contract. Seemingly not a week went by without some chatter or comment from Reed. In early July Reed tweeted, "Tell the Bosses I'm Comfortable" with a photo of his son's bike and his "yard" work in a apparent message to the Ravens front office that he is financially stable without playing this season. In May, Reed said that he wasn't sure if he would play this season.

Reed is sure to be a first ballot Hall of Famer once his career is over and you'd be hard pressed to find someone in Ravens Nation who doesn't think he is one of if not the greatest safety of all time. But does he deserve a new contract? 

Reed is 33 years old and has had several injuries in recent years but when healthy he's the league's biggest defensive game changer. But one must consider if the reward outweighs the risk enough for the Ravens to award him a new contract? 

As former Falcons Coach Jerry Glanville once said, "NFL stands for Not For Long". The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg is a ruthless cash cow where players are routinely tossed aside faster than their 40 yard dash time.  Reed is great but there is no doubt that Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens brass are thinking that his greatness is in a state of decline. 

Though he maybe looking for it, any deal that Reed gets will not be a big payday. If the Ravens decide to give Mr. 'Reeeeeed' as he's called in Baltimore a new contract, it will be more of a thank you for your service contract than a superstar's mega payday. If Reed planned to use skipping mini-camp, holding out through training camp or even retiring as a bargaining chip to negotiate a new contract he waited at least two seasons too late; if not more. With the injuries he's suffered in recent years to his neck and knee and him now being an elder statesman in the NFL, Reed has no shot at landing a big time deal. Simply put #20 is played a 2012 game of black jack with a 2008 hand. The House wins. 

Its an unfortunate truth but, its still the truth. Reed is the latest in a long history of NFL greats who missed out on their big payday. When it comes to the "business" that is the NFL sentimental ties and lifetime achievements don't have a seat at the barganing table. I'm sure that these things ran through Reed's mind as he made his decision to report to camp on time a decision that ultimately saves face for he and the Ravens.

If Reed had decided to carry out his threat and didn't show which seems to be a pretty uneventful training camp for the Ravens would have been a media spectacle. Many of the Purple and Black Faithful would have ridiculed the team for not "showing Reed the money"; while others would have berated Reed for being greedy and not fulfilling his contract. Both of these viewpoints would have been valid in their own right.

 Reed showing up prevents the Ravens from making a decision that could have mirrored the Jaguars putting their star player Jone-Drew on the injured did not report list causing the organization to deal with disgruntled players, fans and a public black eye. Moreover, it prevents Reed from becoming a greedy villain in the world of sports and allows him to remain beloved in the hearts of all in Ravens Nation and maybe his next bargaining chip. 

Everyone wins! For now! Reed gets another attempt to prove he is worth more than his current salary, the Ravens get to keep him on the cheap, the fans get to see there beloved safety and everyone saves face! But this story is far from over and will continue to evolve with this upcoming season. Stay tuned! 

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