I said it back in February, and I’ll say it again now.
I really wish my favorite player ever, Ed Reed, would have just retired after finally touching the Lombardi Trophy down in his hometown of New Orleans earlier this year.
Not only because it pains me to see him put on another uniform (it does), but because of the nerve impingement in his neck that he’s been playing with for several years; a hit the wrong way could mean Ed never walks again.
While that’s true in a way for any player who steps on the football field, the risk is that much greater for Reed due to his condition.
The other reason I really hoped Reed would just walk away was to ensure that he would go out on top. While he wasn’t quite the player he had been for most of his career in 2012, he still had an interception in the Super Bowl, and he still patrolled the middle of the field and struck fear into the hearts of opposing quarterbacks.
I didn’t want to see him end up as an even emptier shell of the great, great player he once was.
But even I didn’t see this coming.
According to CBS in Houston, Reed has been benched by his new team, the Houston Texans.
Ed Reed was the Texans big-ticket acquisition this off-season. But his first eight games with the Texans haven’t been worth the price of admission.
After missing the first two games due to injury, Reed has yet to register a win in a Texans uniform. The team still lists him as a starter but against the Colts it was D.J. Swearinger and Shiloh Keo who started the game at safety, neither had ever started an NFL game coming into this season. Meanwhile, Reed was used almost exclusively as the third safety in the dime package.
Reed’s stats hardly read like the impact player the Texans thought they were signing. He has recorded 16 tackles, no sacks, and no interceptions in the six games he’s played. Perhaps more telling – for a player known as one of the NFL’s best ball hawk’s – Reed has not gotten his hands on a single pass. According to the NFL’s official statistics he hasn’t recorded a pass defense this year.
Late in his career in Baltimore, Reed’s impact was just as much about the plays he prevented as about the plays he made. Opposing teams still shied away from him even after his days of multi-interception games were mostly behind him. Still, it’s jarring to see that he’s failed to get his hands on a single pass with Houston. Teams tried to throw away from him his entire career, but he still found a way to make plays.
While I understand that Reed did what he felt was best for him and his family when he signed his three-year, $15 million deal in Houston, it’s a shame to see him reduced to the kind of guy that gets benched.
It looks like the Texans would only have to eat about 1.3M of dead cap money if they chose to cut him this offseason, so that seems increasingly likely. The CBS article linked above speculates that he could be a cap casualty so the team can sign J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson to new deals.
And no, I don’t think the Ravens should have matched Houston’s offer (even now knowing how disastrous the Michael Huff signing turned out to be – Huff “replace” Ed Reed…HA!) The Ravens knew that Ed was no longer a player who could demand that type of financial commitment. Though, as many have suggested, perhaps his leadership would sure be nice right now – but again, only if he’d come back on the cheap, which was never going to happen as long as there were teams out there with money to throw at him.
I suppose there could be a silver lining for Ravens fans here – while we had hoped to see Reed and Ray Lewis go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame together, it now looks like we might instead have inductees in back-to-back years.
So there’s that, I guess.
As so many of us said so many times when he’d start lateraling his freshly-intercepted pass around…damn it, Ed.