Harbaugh optimistic Reed will be back

Updated: January 19, 2010, 6:01 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh held his season-ending press conference Tuesday, and Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed was a hot topic of discussion.

Reed said Saturday after Baltimore's playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he was "50-50" on retirement. The eighth-year safety has been dealing with a nerve condition in his neck for the past couple of years, in addition to groin and foot injuries this season.

Harbaugh said the two had a conversation about Reed's decision, and afterwards Harbaugh felt optimistic Reed will return in 2010.

"I think I understand where he's coming from," Harbaugh said. "I think he wants a little time just to try to get healthy and look at some things to come back. That was my encouragement. Whatever he can do to put that stuff behind him as much as he can, he'll try to do.

"I'm real hopeful, and I believe he's going to come back and play, and I'm going to go on that assumption until he tells us differently."

Baltimore's top receiver Derrick Mason, 36, also says he is contemplating retirement.

Mason, who led the team with 1,028 receiving yards, will become an unrestricted free agent in March.

"We have to see how that plays out over the next couple of months," Harbaugh said. "We've told Derrick that we want him back, we want him on this football team, and we're going to do everything we can to keep him on this football team for next year."

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter