Ed Reed knew right from the start of free agency that he wanted to play for the Houston Texans and that his days in Baltimore were over.
The nine-time Pro Bowl safety, signed a three-year, $15 million contract with Houston on Friday, adding championship experience to the Texans’ defense and leaving the reigning Super Bowl champions without yet another of their cornerstone players.
Reed said Texans general manager Rick Smith called him on the first day of free agency and the Texans were his first choice from that point on.
“I think we both knew, just from the conversation, how things were going and how this would work,” Reed said. “It just was a matter of time with getting it done.”
The Texans’ gain was one more offseason blow to Baltimore, where Reed played his first 11 NFL seasons.
Star linebacker Ray Lewis retired, and the Ravens traded receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers. With salary-cap limitations, Baltimore lost linebackers Paul Kruger (Cleveland) and Dannell Ellerbe (Miami) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia) in free agency. The Ravens also cut safety Bernard Pollard, who signed with Tennessee.
Reed said he talked to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti before signing with Houston.
“Eleven years is a great book,” Reed said. “The way it ended, you can’t write a better script. Eventually, we knew Baltimore had to make decisions and in the end, they made those decisions.”
But Reed called Houston “a perfect fit,” and already knows the Texans well from their three meetings with Baltimore since October 2011. He sees the Texans now where the Ravens used to be.
Baltimore lost to Pittsburgh in the 2008 AFC championship, then lost in the divisional playoffs in 2009 and ’10. The Ravens lost to the Patriots in the 2011 AFC championship before their breakthrough last season.
Reed is hoping to be the last piece Houston needs.
“I’ve watched these guys so many times,” Reed said. “I’ve played against them, I know what this team has, I know what this organization has. I know what I’m coming into, as far as the mentality. There’s a goal that’s been set, from top to bottom. I come in just for that. I come in to play championship football.”
In another dispiriting footnote, the Ravens will not get to celebrate their Super Bowl title with a game at their home stadium because Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles had already scheduled a home game and wouldn’t budge on the date.
The Ravens and Orioles play at adjacent stadiums and share a parking lot, so they avoid playing at the same time because of traffic problems. The Orioles are set to host the Chicago White Sox next door at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, and when the leagues and teams were unable to reach a compromise, the NFL announced Friday the Ravens will have to play somewhere else.
The Buffalo Bills conducted a private workout with former West Virginia QB Geno Smith, regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects available in the NFL draft next month. … The Chicago Bears agreed to a one-year contract with linebacker D.J. Williams, a possible replacement for Brian Urlacher. … The Carolina Panthers signed unrestricted free-agent wide receiver Ted Ginn from the San Francisco 49ers to a one-year deal.… The Bengals agreed to a new contract with offensive tackle Dennis Roland.