Ed Reed talked about the effects of playing football at media day. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed said he has had problems that he believes are related to all the hits he’s taken — and dished out — during his football career.

“Sometimes I wake up and I think, where did my memory go? But at the same time, I signed up for it,” Reed, 34, said. “Football has been like that for a long time, for ages. Football has always been a contact sport, and it’s always going to be a violent sport, and there are going to be repercussions from that. But every player that ever played this game and will play this game, they’re signing up for it.”

Safety has surged to the forefront of the conversation surrounding this Super Bowl, after President Obama expressed reservations about letting a child play the game and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard questioned whether the NFL would exist in 30 years and whether a player might get killed in a game. A study recently showed that Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May, had signs of brain damage from repeated hits. Reed was asked if it was part of the game that Seau had signed up for.

“Did he sign up for it?” Reed said. “Yeah, he signed up to play football. Things are going to happen. Do I want it to happen? No. When I was on a golf course, did I want to hear about Junior Seau? No, I didn’t want to hear that. I grew up watching him play. That was a sad day. A sad day, and there have been many other guys that have been down that road that you didn’t want to hear about because of football.”


The NFL fines players for illegal hits, then suspends repeat offenders. Reed, who will be a free agent after the Super Bowl, has had to pay over $100,000.

“Not every guy can afford it,” Reed said. “But teams can and the league can. It’s a billion-dollar business. You’ve got guys upstairs making $10-to-$12-million just to sign papers and to fine people. We’re talking about the wrong things sometimes.”

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