On a now-weekly basis, Ed Reed provides evidence the end is near.
The veteran safety struggled with the Houston Texans before getting a pink slip. Signing with the New York Jets returned Reed to a starting role, but not to his former self. He looks a step slow and mostly disinterested in matters of tackling.
This all feels like it's headed toward a retirement news conference in Baltimore sometime in 2014. But in the here and now, Reed has no intentions of calling it a career. He told the New York Daily News he'd like to play two more years after this season.
"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 added.
Aging star players, regardless of sport, are usually the last to see they aren't close to what they once were physically. Reed, now 35 and in his 12th season, is no exception. He was brilliant during his Baltimore heyday, a once-in-a-generation type performer. Now he's reached certified JAG (Just Another Guy) status.