Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 18

On if he thinks the team overachieved or underachieved this season: "I don't think we overachieved or underachieved. I think we're a good football team. We made it to the semifinals. I just think, like I was saying earlier, there were just a couple of little things that would make us better [to] get over the hump. I don't think there needs to be drastic change. I just think if you improve on a couple of little things, it would make you a much better football team. If we were better on a couple of little things, we would have beaten the Colts. But we weren't, and they were a better team. So, if we improved and everybody keeps the mentality like, 'Hey, we need to get better,' and everybody's hungry, I think we'll be even better than we were this year. If we do that, I think we can be another Super Bowl contender, but I wouldn't say we overachieved or underachieved."

On if the last game always sticks with you for a while: "Yeah, I felt like such a loser coming in today. When I was in Oakland, you'd be out of it in Week 10, and it was kind of like a countdown. But really, everyone on this team was pretty much like, 'Hey, next week,' and everybody was very optimistic and positive-thinking. We thought that we could be in the Super Bowl. So, you lose the game, you kind of go home and wake up saying, 'Man, this is it.' It really kind of hits you when you come in here."

On what the talk was like with head coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the team in their final meeting: "You know, he was proud of everybody. He knows everybody played their hearts out the whole entire year. But it was kind of like a somber tone, but also optimistic about next year, too. It was a good goodbye."

On if having a short week and a lot of road games caught up to the team against the Colts: "No. I thought that we played a really good team who played better than us. Our defense was out there on the field a lot last game, but I felt fine out there. I felt like I was in good shape. A lot of the DBs did as well. I just think you run into a better team sometimes, and that was that."

On whether he grew as a player and if the offense grew as a unit this year:"Yeah, I think obviously, [in] your second year, you grew. And I think the second year as an offense, I think we grew as an offense and we took our next step. We just need to make sure we do all the right things in the offseason and come back and take that next step next year."

On what WR Derrick Mason means to the team: "He's a veteran guy that just has been around the league and knows what it takes to be a good team. So, [he's] definitely been a huge part of our success these first two years of my career."

On how long this last game will stick with him: "We'll see. We feel like we had a pretty good team and didn't play our best game. So, it doesn't feel good, but we've got to move on eventually. We'll see what happens. You know, I'm sure it'll stick with us for a decent amount of time."

On whether his offseason routine will be similar from a work standpoint as it was last year: "Oh, of course. You know, last year you had an offseason, and this year I'll obviously know some better ways to go about things. But, [it's the] same approach – just trying to come in here and get ready for workouts and all that stuff."

On when is the next time he will pick up a football: "I'll take some time off, relax and make sure I get everything as healthy as can be. [Then] I'll start working out again, and eventually pick up a football, but the season is a decent amount away now, so no big hurry."

On whether he can look back at the team objectively and think the Ravens could have gone further: "I don't know. It's a little fresh, but I think you look at it both ways. I think when you're trying to be nice to yourself, you say how good of a season we had, and when you're being realistic, I think we should have done better, and we could have done better. That's the way we feel. I think that's the way you've got to feel in order to be a good team, and that's why it doesn't feel good right now. So, we'll do our best to get over it and move on and try to get better toward next year."

On how his health is doing at the end of the season and how it compares to this time last year: "I don't know, probably pretty even. I feel pretty darn good right now. I don't remember how I felt last year. I think I felt pretty good. But, the seasons are going to be long, [and] that's what you want them to be. You want them to be 19, 20 games, and we came up a couple of games short. But I feel pretty good. [I] just need to get some relaxing, get away for a little bit, give your mind a break."

On whether injuries actually affected him at the end of the season: "No, really not. I think we had a couple of good games at the end of the season there to get us into the playoffs. And then we did what we needed to do in order to win the last game of the season – which was like a playoff game – and the first playoff game. We got off to a big lead and we did what we needed to do. So, I was not affected in any way."

On if it feels like an abrupt end to the season:"Definitely abrupt. We weren't expecting to be here answering these types of questions today. It is what it is."

On how he would classify the success of the season:"I definitely wouldn't classify it as successful. [It was] very disappointing. I think we played a team that we could have beaten last weekend, but we didn't. I think each player is going back through the game in their mind, and [there are] things they could have done differently to pull out the win. I think it's still a little fresh, a little rough, so it doesn't really feel like a successful season right now."

On if he feels there are a lot of elements on this team that need to change to get them to the Super Bowl:"I would say it's a matter of sharpening what you've got. I mean, it's not a coincidence that we made pretty deep runs in the playoffs the last couple of seasons. You can't do that without the type of talent that you need in this league. I think we have championship talent here. I just think we need to get a little bit better, or a lot better, maybe. We definitely need to get better to get to where we need to go."

On if he expects S Ed Reed to come back next season:"I sure hope so. But, he's got to do what's best for him and what's best for his body and what he feels most comfortable with. Obviously, it'd be a great loss for this team, but it's not something that we're not prepared to cope with. We played fairly well with him down to injury, which I think was good preparation for this team for possibly losing a Hall of Famer like that. We'll take it one step at a time."

On if there was any indication that Reed played his last game as a Raven:"No. it hadn't crossed my mind. He hasn't said or done anything to make me think otherwise. I fully expect him to be back."

Opening Statement:"All right, I'm done. This is my last season, seriously. I'm done. I'm done. I'm going to say it again. This is it. I had a lot of fun, and we had a good roll this year – a lot of ups and a lot of downs – but through it all, I think we stayed together as a team, and we played as a team. That's what I'm most proud of, that the guys hung in there and that we stayed resilient and we fought until we couldn't fight [any] more."

On if he's "done" as a Raven or a player in the NFL:"I'm possibly done as a player in the NFL, not because of… I feel good physically. Mentally, I've just got to see what happens from here. But physically, I feel great. I don't know what the Ravens are going to do. I've got a week to rest, find something to do out here in this world, whether it be here or back in Nashville. So, I've got to find something to do. Cut a little grass, probably." (laughing)

On if he's informed the Ravens of his choice:"No, I haven't. I will talk to Coach [John] Harbaugh, Ozzie [Newsome], Cam [Cameron] and my position coach, Coach 'Hos' [Jim Hostler], and let them know what I'm thinking, where my mind is at mentally, and go from there."

On if this is a definitive announcement of his retirement:"I didn't win the Super Bowl yet. I didn't win the Super Bowl yet, so I can't… I think I'll tell y'all when Ed Reed tells y'all. Ed Reed [is] 50-50 right now, so I'm more like 60-40. But, nothing's definite but death and taxes, and we'll see how it goes for the next couple of weeks, see where I'm headed mentally and go from there."

On if he looks back at the Ravens and sees a team that made the playoffs two years in a row or one that fell short of the Super Bowl:"I see it both ways – a team that came in here and fought this year and had to battle through some injuries, losing key players and still gathering together as a team and fighting. And then ultimately, I see it as we fell short of a goal that we wanted to accomplish as a team, as an organization, and that was to win the Super Bowl. Everybody understands that if you don't win the Super Bowl, everything else is kind of meaningless in this sport. We fell short of our goal, but we've still got the guys here that will be here next year with the character and attitude and the perseverance to push forward and try to put this organization on that podium to be that last team that holds up that Lombardi trophy next year."

On what changed from wanting to take a month or two to decide about retirement: "I'm still going to… I'm not the type of person that likes to take a couple of months, really. I'm going to make my decision and go from there and let it be what it's going to be. I'm not even interested in wasting anybody's time, let alone waste mine. So, I'm going to make a decision that I'm going to make. I'm going to make it quickly and definitively and then move on from there. So, it's not going to be a drawn-out thing. If somebody catches me working out in another week, then I guess I've made my decision. But if not, then I guess my days of playing football are possibly over."

On what he would like to be remembered by as a football player and a person: "Everybody is going to have their opinions on how they viewed me as a football player and as a person, but I know that when I walk through those doors each and every day, that I came in and enjoyed the game and had fun. But in the midst of enjoyment, I gave it my all. I gave it 100 percent, and I practiced and played the way a professional is supposed to practice and play. That's the only thing I knew. That's the only way I knew how to practice and play, was to go 100 percent. I complained, but that's me. (laughing) I'm going to complain, but through the complaining, there was never a time you could say I didn't go full speed or that I didn't try to overcome an injury and whether to practice or play with it. So, hopefully, that's how I'll be remembered. Somebody else might have a different view of it, but that's why everyone has their own individual opinion and mind thoughts. But hopefully, that's the way I'll be remembered and move on from there."

On if he thinks there will be turnover at WR in the offseason with the Ravens: "Wow. It might be; I don't know. I think all of us are… If my memory serves me correct, I think all of us are up. So, there's going to be some turnover, and you just hope, for Joe's [Flacco] sake, the turnover is not everybody because to bring in four, five, six new faces to a quarterback, that's kind of hard. At least you've got to have one or two familiar faces. There will be some turnover. I know they're trying to keep as many people as they can, but ultimately, this sport is to make your team better each and every year. It's not personal. It's business, and you move on, and hopefully the people they bring in here can help Joe out, and help Joe continue his growth in this sport."

On whether there is any chance of him coming back to the Ravens next year: "That's always a chance. I've enjoyed it."

On how big of a chance it is: "I can't tell you that right now. I can't put a percentage on it. I mean, anybody that gives you a percentage – even though I said 60/40 – anybody that gives you a percentage, they're lying. (laughter) You can't give a percentage. That's like saying I'm 80-percent healthy. How do you know you're 80-percent healthy? *(laughter) *But I enjoy this locker room, I enjoy the guys in this locker room, I enjoy the coaching staff. This city has been tremendous; they have embraced me. When I first got here, it's hard, I know it's kind of hard to embrace a rival, a former Titan, but they did it and they haven't looked back. So, I enjoy it. I enjoy playing here, I enjoy living here, and I could see myself – if I choose to come back – finishing out my career here. There's no problem with that."

On whether he is or is not definitively retiring right now: "No, it's still up in the air. It really is. But right now, it's one of those situations where you go home and you think about it, and you weigh the pros and the cons. And if your pros kind of outweigh the cons, then that's how you make your decision. But I don't see any cons in this whole process, really. How many opportunities do you have to be a part of a great team, a great city and a great organization? Especially at the latter part of your years, you don't get that many opportunities. So, there aren't too many cons. There are a whole bunch of pros, so I just need to weigh it that way."

On whether he could ever see himself on the other side of the microphone: "Of course, man."

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