Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 7/21/12

It seems like an obvious statement to make, but Ed Reed is a key to the Ravens' defense, and John Harbaugh thinks he'll have the Ravens' star safety back.

Harbaugh told 105.7 The Fan, "He’s going to play this year and be here. It looks like that is the case."

Ray Lewis has always been the face of the Ravens' defense, but linebackers are not the premium position that safeties are becoming in the NFL. Lewis may be far more vocal than Reed, but I would argue that the Ravens would have a far more difficult time replacing Ed Reed than they will when Ray Lewis eventually retires.

As time continues to move on without any definitive statement regarding Reed's future from either the team or the man himself, it seems more and more likely that he'll play at least one more season. If, however, he decides that he wants to walk away from the game, he'll leave a massive gap in the Ravens defense that no one else in the league could fill.

The Ravens' problem is that Reed isn't just a great safety. He changes the way the Ravens play defense. When he's not on the field, opposing quarterbacks feel more confident making throws downfield. If he walks away, the Ravens' defense becomes far less intimidating to the opposition. Luckily for the Ravens, it sounds as if they'll have Reed for at least one more year.


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