Several media outlets are reporting that Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed said he was suffering from a nerve injury to his neck and shoulder.
"It is a nerve impingement and couple other things going on in there, some soreness, tightness, or what not," he told WNST Radio. "Just trying to loosen it up and take it one day at a time."
Reed's comments – he hasn't spoken to the media since a brief session during training camp – add to the speculation of at least one newspaper that the safety might not be ready for the Ravens' season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 7.
During camp, Reed wore a red version of his No. 20 jersey to signify a restriction on contact. The 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was held out of all four preseason games.
Reed said that surgery on the ailment is not mandatory, but could be career-threatening.
"If I had surgery now, you all would not be interviewing me ever again," he told the media. "If I had surgery, I would not be playing anymore."
While Reed has been able to maintain his range of motion, the injury continues to raise questions.
"It is a little bit more in-depth than that," Reed stated. "It is something I just have to deal with. It will not go away, but I can do some things to prevent a lot."
Reed, 29, said he has seen multiple specialists for treatment.
"It is just making sure it is getting right, seeing every doctor that you can possibly see to get it checked out to make sure there is nothing catastrophic that can happen," he explained. "That is what I was really taking care of."
If Reed is sidelined for Week 1, safety Jim Leonhard, a free-agent signee from the Buffalo Bills, would likely move to the starting lineup.
Leonhard notched one interception Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons and snared another one that was negated with an offsides penalty.
Coming off a fourth Pro Bowl campaign that saw him post seven interceptions to lead Baltimore, Reed hopes to return to the field this year, while still being cautious with the injury.
"It is a long season, and I feel like the team is going to need me more down the line [rather] than earlier by getting hurt or something like that where I can't play again," Reed said. "Right now we are just taking it day to day."