As fans, we are reminded constantly by writers, other fans, or events that happen to our favorite players or teams that the NFL is just a business. At the end of the day, each team has to look out for itself financially, and the same thing goes for each individual player as well. The magnitude of that realization differs, and it is interesting to hear from players talking about the business of the game and the emotional effects of business decision. As a New England Patriots blogger, I’ve seen the constant debate of fans trying to ascertain whether the Patriots or Wes Welker was in the “right”. Sometimes, I wonder if we spend too much time debating the merits of a free agent leaving and trying to point the finger, instead of taking the “it is what it is” approach and realizing that sometimes deals fall apart due to factors out of the control of both sides.
“I didn’t expect this. Did I want it? No, I didn’t want it. But do I understand it? Yes I understand it. My heart really felt that we had an opportunity to do some special things because we had a core of people. I honestly didn’t know the true nitty-gritty of the business side of it. I didn’t know all the possibilities that would happen and transpired the last few weeks or so. I didn’t know all that would happen the way it did. That put things in perspective as well to let you know the team is kind of going in a different direction. Not rebuilding but in a sense rebuilding, to make different moves and it just wasn’t economically the best situation for me.”
Reed always maintained that he wanted to stay with the Baltimore Ravens and stay with the team for his career. There would have been something special in that- in the same way that Ray Lewis spent his entire career in Baltimore. But unfortunately, it was not to be. We can blame Joe Flacco for striving as hard as possible to become the highest-paid QB in the game, and we can blame the Ravens for allowing him to reach that. But is it right to blame the team or Flacco? Or is it just how the business goes?
It’s interesting to hear a veteran of the stature of Reed, especially keeping in mind how intelligent he is and how much of a leader he is. To hear Reed talk about how he didn’t know about the “true nitty-gritty of the business side” until now is a bit alarming, because this is a guy who seemingly understood that part of the game better than anyone. After all, Reed did represent himself as an agent up until hiring an agent this offseason. It’s telling, though, that he chose to hire an agent this offseason.
Pouring over that quote is a little bit sad, because I’m one of those fans who loves seeing a player stick with a team for his entire career. Ed Reed obviously wanted to do that, but it was not to be thanks to the business side of things. Hopefully, players like Tom Brady and Eli Manning can stay with their respective franchises for the entirety of their careers.
Ed Reed understood the business side of the game, but he didn’t understand the extent of how tough the NFL can be until he had to leave the Ravens this offseason.
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