Notebook: Reed contemplating retirement

INDIANAPOLIS – Immediately following a demoralizing 20-3 AFC divisional playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a somber Ed Reed revealed that he's contemplating retirement.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year intercepted Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning in the third quarter Saturday night, but lost a key fumble on his return as Pierre Garcon punched the football out from behind. Another interception was negated by a penalty on teammate Corey Ivy.

The Ravens' Pro Bowl safety has been battling several injuries, including a nerve impingement that has plagued him for the past few years.

"I've been thinking about it," Reed said. "It kind of hit me on the sideline. It hit me right now because I don't know how much I'm going to be able to have going forward. It will be a long offseason just thinking about it. It hurts just thinking about it."

Reed, 31, said that it's a "50-50" proposition on whether he'll return.

Selected to six Pro Bowls with seven career interceptions returned for touchdowns, Reed is a dynamic, impactful defensive player whose instincts and hands are practically unmatched in the NFL.

He's also dealing with durability concerns that sidelined him for four games this year with a strained groin. He also had a nagging foot injury.

"It's my decision at the end of the day to play with injuries," Reed said. "I take good advice from my doctors. It's been great up to this point, fighting through. I wanted to battle this year even with the injuries I had last year and the injuries I had this year.

"There were no excuses coming into this season about injuries. That's why I was never frustrated when I injured my groin. Injuries come, especially at this point in my career. You fight through. You lose like this, it's hard to lay down. "

The nerve impingement causes him a lot of pain, limits his tackling and has prompted him to consult with several specialists around the country.

"I've got great doctors that I deal with, so we'll see," Reed said. "I'll re-evaluate things in the next couple days. .. At the end of the day, you have to think about family. I have a family now. We shall see."

Reed has intercepted a franchise-record 46 interceptions. He's the lone NFL player to score touchdowns on a blocked punt, punt return, interception and fumble recovery.

Reed said that he's not going to make a rash choice about his future.

"There's too many emotions flying around right now to make a decision," he said. "You'll know soon."

ROUGH GAME: Besides dealing with a sore right ankle, offensive tackle Jared Gaither was able to start and did a solid job against Colts speed rusher Dwight Freeney.

However, Gaither was penalized twice during a single third-quarter drive. He had a false start and a holding penalty.

"I've just got to focus better," Gaither said. "It's all on me."

Gaither acknowledged that the ankle created some doubt as to whether he was going to play. He made no excuses for the infractions.

"What we were doing to ourselves, including my penalties, it's something I need to work on," Gaither said.

LEWIS HIT WITH PENALTY: Ray Lewis was visibly frustrated, bellowing loud enough to be heard over the official's microphone.

"That's football," Lewis protested to the referee Saturday night.

The Ravens' All-Pro middle linebacker was penalized for unnecessary roughness for his shoulder shot on Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie during the final minutes of the first half.

The ruling on the field was illegal contact to a defenseless receiver.

Lined up deep at safety in the Ravens' red-zone defense, Lewis was reacting to a Peyton Manning pass directed toward an open Collie across the middle.

If Lewis doesn't make the hit, it would have been a certain touchdown considering Collie's hands. Three plays later, Manning connected with wide receiver Reggie Wayne from three yards out for his second touchdown pass to vault the Colts to a 17-3 halftime lead.

LOCALS IN INDY: Hundreds of Ravens fans made the trip to Indianapolis, and most reported a friendly welcome at least before kickoff.

Dave Mason, who grew up in Westminster and recently moved to Effingham, Illinois, paid $300 for a ticket on StubHub.

"It was a rare opportunity," Mason said. He said he didn't get much razzing walking around Indianapolis.

"They were very nice to us," he said. "It's real Midwest hospitality."

Mark Powers, a homebuilder based in Carroll County, went to the game with his son and a friend.

"We came to support our team," said Powers, adding that he paid face value for his tickets. "We flew out and 100 percent of our plane was Ravens."

Jack Leister, a South Carroll graduate who now lives in Reisterstown, was visiting Indianapolis for the first time.

"We expect a little flack from them," Leister said. "We can handle it."

During the national anthem sung by country and western singer Gretchen Wilson, loud cries of "O," were heard just like they were back home at Camden Yards.

DUNGY IN THE HOUSE: Former Colts coach Tony Dungy was a pregame visitor on the field and received a huge ovation from the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd.

PLAYOFF VENUES: This was the ninth Ravens playoff game on the road. They've played twice in Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Miami, and once in Oakland, New England and Indianapolis.

The Ravens entered the game with a 6-2 mark in playoff road games.

INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated third quarterback John Beck, wide receiver Justin Harper, defensive backs Marcus Paschal and Keith Fitzhugh, offensive linemen David Hale and Tony Moll, defensive tackle Kelly Talavou and outside-linebacker-defensive end Paul Kruger.

This marks the second game in a row that Kruger was a healthy scratch after being active for the final eight regular-season games.

The Colts scratched kicker Adam Vinatieri, wide receiver Sam Giguere, tight end Colin Cloherty, defensive tackle John Gill, offensive tackle Michael Toudouze, offensive guard Mike Pollak, defensive end Ervin Baldwin, defensive tackle Fili Moala

QUICK HITS: The Ravens' game captains were Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda and Dawan Landry. Yanda's selection was a nod to his comeback from tearing three knee ligaments during a game here last season and regaining his starting job roughly one year later. "I'm just going to go out there 100 miles per hour like I usually do and not even think about it," Yanda said before the game. "I don't even worry about it. Stuff happens. That's how it goes." … The Colts were represented by Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt.


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