On the same day that reports began leaking out about Ed Reed leaving the Ravens to go play with Houston, the Chicago Bears and Brian Urlacher agreed that their great linebacker wouldn't be back in 2013 also.
That's the way of life in today's NFL, and it shows how times have changed.
Players who were spectacular and leaders and headed for Canton used to always stay with one team their whole career. That's just not happening any more. If they're older and seeking that one last big contract, guess what? They won't get it every time.
Various reports are saying that Reed may have agreed to a deal with Houston for about $4 million per year after playing for about $7.2 million last season. He apparently wanted the same money and said several times he wanted to stay here. But Reed took the Houston deal, similar to the Urlacher situation where the linebacker and the Bears said Wednesday that they'd have to agree to disagree on a new deal.
These situations always remind me of what Johnny Unitas went to the Chargers for one year in 1973. He just didn't look right in that uniform. Reed will not look right to Baltimore fans in a Houston uniform.
The Ravens might have pushed harder if Reed wasn't 34 years old and having battled through several injuries in the last few years. He's still an outstanding player, but not what he once was-- nor should he be expected to be at this age. But Ed Reed is still a very good player.
His loss will be felt most in the locker room where Reed was a real leader and teacher to younger players. Same with Ray Lewis. The Ravens clearly wanted to change some things, get younger and put some of the newer guys up on the stage, even though they won the Super Bowl last year.
The Bears will have to do the same thing now without Urlacher. Baltimore's going to have to do it without Lewis and Reed, two sure-fire Hall of Famers. Losing Reed was understandable; the only problem is he's one of several from last year who've left. The big question is what the Ravens will do to fill those holes.