Notebook: Reed's status in doubt

OWINGS MILLS -- Although Baltimore Ravens star free safety Ed Reed is no longer wearing the red jersey that meant he wasn't cleared for contact, it doesn't necessarily signify that the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be lining up Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Reed is suffering from a nerve impingement of his neck and left shoulder and was limited in practice Wednesday

He hinted strongly that it may be best for him to wait before he attempts to play.

"It's just listening to the doctor and trying to be smart about it as much as you can," Reed said. "If they tell you, it's going to be a couple of weeks then you've got to take a couple weeks. That's what they've been telling me right now.

"It's very frustrating because you can't really do anything. If you get out there, you are really at risk. If I feel like I can get out there and be effective and help the guys, then that's what I'm going to do. I want to be smart and try to strengthen it as much as possible before I do go out there."

Reed said doctors have cleared him to increase his activity level at practice, but it's unclear if that includes contact drills. He joked about running into big defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to test out his injury, which he described as uncomfortable.

"It's kind of like if you were turning your neck and someone was kind of holding you back from going all the way," Reed said. "In your shoulder, you kind of feel a little tug. There's not really any pain too much anymore unless it's aggravated. That's what we are trying to figure out."

Jim Leonhard has been preparing to start in Reed's place.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal on Reed's status.

"I wouldn't even speculate on it," Harbaugh said. "It's got to be worked out on its own time frame."

ANDERSON VISITS: Former Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl offensive tackle Willie Anderson arrived at the Ravens' training complex in a limousine for his visit, and passed a physical.

Anderson has narrowed down his choices to the Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was recently cut by Cincinnati after refusing to take a pay cut. Anderson prefers to make a decision by the end of the week, but it wouldn't be surprising if the process moves into next week.

"Baltimore is definitely very impressive to Willie," said Terry Bolar, Anderson's agent. "Willie knows the people there in Baltimore and had a great visit, meeting with everyone and talking with Ray Lewis.

"Willie is a man of his word and we made a commitment to three teams. It's a matter of going where it's a good fit. He's looking for the right place to finish out his career."

INJURY REPORT: Running back Willis McGahee (left arthroscopic knee surgery) was limited in practice. If he can't go, then rookie Ray Rice will start.

McGahee skipped most of the offseason conditioning program and minicamps, raising questions about his dedication and knowledge of the playbook. If he plays, it figures to be extremely limited action.

"When you've got Ray Rice out there practicing and you don't have Willis McGahee, that's what you do," Harbaugh said. "That's what you become. So, Willis is a bonus in my mind because he hasn't been practicing anyway.

"If he gets out there, it's going to be great. We've got to go play on Sunday with the guys we've got and we plan on playing very well."

Nose guard Kelly Gregg (arthroscopic left knee surgery) and quarterback Troy Smith (tonsil infection) didn't practice. While Smith has been ruled out for a week or two after losing 20 to 30 pounds, Gregg is a question mark for Sunday.

Gregg has been using an electronic device on his knee at night to reduce swelling.

"I should be playing, and I expect to be out there Sunday," Gregg said. "I've been getting treatment nonstop. I've been swimming more than Michael Phelps. The fat man float is probably my best stroke."

Cornerback Chris McAlister (right knee) said he definitely plans to play Sunday. He wasn't listed on the injury report.

When asked if he thought the injury would linger throughout the season, McAlister replied: "So far, so good. The knee is feeling good."

Tight end Todd Heap (knee) was limited in practice and listed with a knee injury even though he has been bothered by a right calf ailment. He proclaimed himself to be 100 percent.

"Now that I'm healthy, I'm ready to go," he said.

Wide receiver Marcus Smith (separated right shoulder) said he was limited to individual drills and wasn't on the injury report.

"It's getting progressively better, but it's still pretty sore," Smith said. "I can catch the ball over my head now. I should be back soon."

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer (broken nose) and wide receiver Chad Johnson (partially torn labrum, left shoulder) participated fully in practice. Starting fullback Jeremi Johnson (knee) was placed on injured reserve.

OCHO-CINCO: It's never a dull conference call when Johnson, who recently legally changed his last name to Ocho Cinco, is on the other end of the line.

He declined to discuss the name change, but nothing else was out of bounds.

Johnson said that he doesn't like Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, but seemed to be joking.

"The last time we played against Bart he cussed me out and told me to stay out of the huddle, and I took offense to that," Johnson said. "This Sunday, I'm going to hit him in the mouth. "The dude is not nice at all. I try to be nice out there on the field, and just always cusses me out. He's very rude."

When informed of Johnson's remarks, Scott replied: "That's fine. I gave him a ride one time. Maybe I should have kicked him out of the car. I should have let him kick rocks."

When asked if he was worried about Johnson's playful threat, Scott said: "Which shoulder? The good one or the bad one? The left one, right."

Johnson said he has a problem with safety Dawan Landry, using an expletive when saying: "He's always trying to be like He-Man every time it's a run play."

Johnson said he is definitely targeting Landry and Scott: "I'm going to hit them late. I'm going to do everything I can just to piss them off."

He struck a sarcastic tone when asked about Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, whom he reportedly had run-ins with when Jackson coached the Bengals' receivers.

"I need you all to tell Hue I love him," Johnson said. "Tell him, I said, 'I love you, man, and thank you for all you've done. What he's helped me do, I'm going to actually release it out on the Ravens Sunday. Tell him I said thank you."

Meanwhile, Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason poked fun at Johnson's name change in the team's press notes previewing the game.

"I think that's a slap to your mother's face when you try to legally change your name," Mason said. "My mother gave me the name Derrick Mason for a reason, so I'm going to keep it. I know that he does it all in fun.

"In the business, the more attention you get, the more money you get paid. Especially the way he plays. The guy is unbelievable."

Mason also wears No. 85, and was asked if he would ever consider changing his name.

"I'm a football player, I don't have time for all that," Mason said. "I'm sticking with what's on the back of my jersey, and that's Mason."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh expressed concern again about the defensive helmet radios after the Ravens had trouble with them during the preseason. "I think the helmet thing is a work in progress right now," he said. "Hopefully, it will be cleared up by the time the game comes around." ... Tight end Edgar Jones, a former linebacker, switched his No. 46 jersey to No. 84. New backup quarterback Todd Bouman will wear No. 2.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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