All-Pro safety Ed Reed is coming off a Super Bowl title with the Ravens, and Reed said the chance to compete for another one was one of the reasons he signed a free-agent deal with the Houston Texans. It also closes an 11-year chapter in Baltimore that the former first-round draft pick described as "storybook."
After a weeklong push for the future Hall of Fame safety, the Texans formally signed Reed to a deal on Friday morning. Terms were not disclosed, but the Houston Chronicle reported the deal to be for three years and $15 million, with $5 million guaranteed.
"This is awesome," Reed said at a news conference announcing the signing.
“I came here to win a championship and help guys with whatever it may be, on and off the field,” he added.
“It’s awesome to go from a great franchise to another great franchise. It’s a matter of being somewhere that fits for me and the team.”
Houston general manager Rick Smith called it “truly a great day for our franchise.”
Texans owner Bob McNair, who dispatched his private jet to pick up Reed in a pull-out-all-the-stops sales pitch to the safety last week, said, “We haven’t had that guy that’s a center fielder and can cover all that ground. Ed Reed does that.”
Reed, who will be 35 in September, is clearly in the twilight of his career, but the Texans are banking that he has at least one or two good years left. The Texans also like his toughness and the veteran leadership he can bring to a team that has been on the cusp but has failed to advance deep into the playoffs the past two years.
The Ravens had hoped Reed would finish his career in Baltimore, but they decided not to re-sign Reed and let him test the free agent marketplace. In Houston, Reed found an offer the Ravens couldn’t match.
““Our hope is that the Hall of Fame players we drafted could play their entire careers with us, but we understand why Ed is moving on to the Texans,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “He’s not the first Hall of Famer to move to another team.”
“How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons,” Newsome added. “He is one of the Ravens’ and NFL’s all-time greats. Words cannot measure what he did for us, including helping us win a second Super Bowl. We thank him for all he did for Baltimore. Ed will always be a part of the Ravens family.”
Said coach John Harbaugh: “He is a great player and a great friend. We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together.”
Reed described his 11 years in Baltimore as “storybook. I’m proud to say that my last game was the Super Bowl. That will never be taken back.”
Reed's 61 career regular-season interceptions are a Ravens record and the most of any active player. His 1,541 interception return yards is an NFL record, and he holds a share of the record for postseason interceptions with nine. He also has the longest two interception returns in NFL history, 107 and 106 yards.
The Ravens defense has been decimated since its Super Bowl title six weeks ago, with six starters leaving the team. Ray Lewis retired, Bernard Pollard was cut, and Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams joined Reed in leaving as free agents. With the departure of Reed and Pollard, the Ravens have lost both starting safeties from last year's team.