It sounded just like old times. As No. 20 emerged from the M&T Bank Stadium tunnel and took the field, the fans serenaded him with long, loud chants of “Reeeeeeeed!”
But although it sounded the same, it sure didn’t look the same.
Reed was wearing the red, white and blue uniform of the Houston Texans, as the surefire Hall of Famer played an NFL game for the first time in something other than a Baltimore Ravens uniform. Reed’s return to Baltimore came on the same day that his longtime compatriot, Ray Lewis, was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor.
Reed, signed by the Texans as a free agent this offseason, had missed the first two games while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Earlier in the week, he said he felt no added incentive to return to action this week against his former team, but few were surprised to see him in the Texans starting lineup.
“We broke the huddle on the first play of the game, and I saw him,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “But from then on out, I didn’t pay too much attention to him.”
Reed greeted Ravens coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti with long hugs at midfield during pregame warmups, and at one point Reed broke away from his own warmups to pay a quick visit and exchange hugs with the Ravens defensive backs and secondary coach Teryl Austin.
Reed finished the game with three tackles, and watched the final minutes of the Ravens’ 30-9 win from the sideline with the outcome no longer in doubt.
“I came (to Houston) to give my heart to this organization, to this city, and I will do that, and I will get interceptions,” Reed said. “But the ball didn’t really come my way today. But at the end of the day, I felt good.”
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said, “It looked like he moved OK. I know there was a point when we said that’s enough, so we’ll go back and look at it and hopefully he came out clean. If he’s not too sore tomorrow, we’ll move on to next week.”
After the final gun sounded, photographers swarmed around Reed as he greeted Ravens coaches and players on the field.
“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve still got it,’” Harbaugh said he told Reed after the game. “I didn’t call him an old man, but he’s still got it. He played very well, just like (we) expected that he would.”
Reed said that he heard and appreciated the reception he received from Ravens fans.
“It was awesome,” he said. “When I first ran out, the whole stadium yelled my name. There’s so much love and memories that I have here in this city. It’s like family. It’s something you cherish as a player.”