From the minute that Ed Reed signed with the Texans, Ravens fans circled Sept. 22 on the calendar. That is the day Reed is expected to return to M&T Bank Stadium with his new team.
But his visit that day, and his status with the Texans at least for the early part of the season, remains highly questionable.
Reed underwent hip surgery this offseason, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle wrote this week that, "Nobody has a clue about when Reed will be ready."
If Reed misses any significant amount of time, a subject that is already somewhat touchy in Houston will continue, pardon the pun, to have legs.
The Ravens passed on re-signing Reed in the off-season and the future Hall of Fame safety was wooed impressively by the Texans, who ultimately signed Reed to a three-year, $15 million deal. Not long after the deal was signed, Reed had a procedure to repair what was reported to be a small labral tear in his hip.
The Ravens caught a lot of flak for letting one of the faces of the franchise go, and it's possibly they knew he was not at 100 percent. Reed started every game last season -- one of just two defensive starters to do so -- but at age 34 (he turns 35 in September) it became evident that his skills were diminishing with age, and he had been bothered frequently over the past few years by neck, shoulder and hip injuries.
One of the Ravens' mandates this offseason was to get younger, and while they would have loved to have No. 20 finish his career in Baltimore, they were not going to break the bank to make that happen.
Did Reed keep mum about his hip injury when negotiating with the Texans?
"Although the Texans have chosen silence and the perception of being duped over confirming that they were duped, the widespread suspicion in league circles is that they were duped," Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote. "Specifically, that Reed knew he’d need hip surgery but didn’t say anything a condition that apparently isn’t normally detected during a physical.
So the Texans will have to wait and hope that Reed will be able to eventually make a contribution, while simultaneously biting their tongues regarding any possible internal belief that Reed failed to be as candid as he could have been about his hip before signing a contract."
Uncertainty and Reed have run stride for stride for years. This was the first offseason in several years Reed has not flirted with retirement, and it's frequently hard to read Reed, who definitely marches to his own drummer.
The Texans signed Reed to give them an experienced, proven winner on defense. That won't happen, though, until he actually suits up and hits the field. But exactly when that happens is, at this point, anybody's guess.