Since he signed with the Houston Texans, many have been upset with Ed Reed’s decision to extend his football career elsewhere prior to calling it quits on his Hall of Fame career.
Conventional thought was that the Ravens were handling Reed’s situation as they did in 2009 with Ray Lewis, where Reed would shop the market to establish his value before the Ravens ultimately matched any deal he was offered. While that thought gave Ravens fans hope, I had already let the idea of Reed returning to Baltimore become an afterthought. Based on a conversation with a source close to Russell Street Report, the primary goal on the Ravens defense was to get younger and faster – Reed was neither of those things.
The three-year, $15 million offer from Houston was likely the only offer Reed even received during his time in free agency limbo. Given the pattern of the personnel decisions by the Ravens this offseason, seeing many of the main figures walk out of the Under Armour Performance Center – either voluntarily or involuntarily – Reed fit into the formula created by coach John Harbaugh. Bringing him back would undermine the rest of the “vocal member of the locker room” clearinghouse.
Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun even had the guts to write that, “John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wanted a root canal.” That’s a phrase most of Baltimore doesn’t want to believe, but I think it’s 100% true.
After Reed officially signed with Houston, I spoke with a source close to Reed who said the future Hall of Fame safety was “devastated” that he wasn’t returning to Baltimore. For someone to be devastated that they can’t return to the place they’d been employed the past 11 years, chances are Reed already knew he wasn’t welcome back in the Castle. Because of that, he likely shifted his focus and utilized the Ravens to increase his asking price from the Texans – not the other way around as most initially thought.
Reed will always be a legend in Baltimore and it’ll be hard to see him play elsewhere to finish his career. The Ravens’ decision was primarily business with a side order of control from Harbaugh. Inside 1 Winning Drive, there may be players with larger bank accounts, but as head coach Bill Belichick is to the New England Patriots, Harbaugh is becoming to the Ravens.
Considering the motivational signs that flood the Ravens practice facility, it wouldn’t surprise me if a “Check egos at the door” sign isn’t hanging above the Ravens locker room entrance this season.
This is the John Harbaugh show now, and Mike Preston was right this time.