Harbaugh one on one: "Be at our best this next week"
Add Ed Reed to the long list of athletes who didn't -- or couldn't -- recognize when their time was up.
The former Ravens safety could have ridden off into the sunset with a Super Bowl ring in his hometown of New Orleans. It would have been a storybook finish to a Hall of Fame career. Instead, Reed stubbornly refuses to hang 'em up, with results that are painful to watch.
Reed on Thursday told the New York Daily News that he wants to play two more years after this season, something that seems inconceivable based on his play this year.
Reed, 35, was cut by the Texans after being underwhelming in seven games and criticizing the coaching staff. He then signed with the Jets, where he has struggled as well. He has played 10 games this season, and his teams are 0-10 in those games.
"I have created a standard for myself," Reed said Thursday. "That standard hasn't been created by no fan (or) person in the media. I think I'm still effective. I watch tape, too. I'm not only watching myself. I watch safeties across the league."
"I don't think that I have played much different this year than I have in the past if you go back and look at tape."
Reed certainly set the standard, no doubt about that. He will go down as perhaps the best free safety in NFL history, a game-changer and a ball hawk like no other. But that was then.
His statement Thursday proves as much as anything that Reed is in complete denial.
Reed's diminished ball skills and poor tackling ability were both on display when the Jets faced the Ravens three weeks ago. Reed was run over by Ed Dickson as Reed made a half-hearted attempt to tackle the Ravens tight end on what turned into a 24-yard gain. Reed later was outrun by Jacoby Jones on a 66-yard touchdown pass.
A week later, Reed badly whiffed on a tackle on Brian Hartline, allowing the Dolphins receiver to score on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
With all due respect to Reed, those plays show that, in fact, he has played much different this year than in the past.
Reed has been credited with 15 tackles and one pass breakup for the Jets. But one of the NFL's all-time ball hawks has yet to record an interception this season. His last pick came as a Raven in the Super Bowl.
That was when Reed could have walked off into the sunset side by side with Ray Lewis. Instead, Reed hung on, maybe for the love of the game, maybe for another paycheck, maybe for the challenge of competing with Father Time.
But in the end, Father Time always wins. And this year, he's making Reed look bad, which is a shame.