HOUSTON — Free-agent safety Ed Reed is on the verge of becoming a Houston Texan, according to multiple reports.
CBSSports.com reported Wednesday night that a deal was in place, and the NFL Network quoted Reed as saying he was headed to Houston “unless something changes.” Neither Reed nor his agent, David Dunn, immediately returned phone messages left by The Associated Press.
The Texans wouldn’t confirm the reports, but it looks as if their bold, public courtship of Reed paid off.
Last Thursday, Reed flew to Houston aboard owner Bob McNair’s private jet and Reed spent two days meeting with coaches and management. Reed and his representatives left town without a deal and the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were reportedly making a pitch to retain him.
But the Texans apparently won out, reviving an otherwise disappointing free-agency period. Houston has lost safety Glover Quin to Detroit and tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin to Philadelphia since free agency began.
Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, had dinner with Texans star receiver Andre Johnson and center Chris Myers, his former college teammates at Miami. Johnson said afterward that he was confident Reed would join the team and after a tense week of waiting for Reed to make up his mind.
Reed has played all 11 of his NFL seasons in Baltimore, where he’s the franchise leader in interceptions with 61. His 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He was the NFL defensive player of the year in 2004 and an eight-time All-Pro.
Reed’s departure would be one more crippling blow to the Ravens, who’ve been gutted since winning the Super Bowl.
They traded receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick and linebacker Ray Lewis retired and joined ESPN. When free agency began, linebacker Paul Kruger signed with Cleveland and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left for Miami. Baltimore also released safety Bernard Pollard, a former Texan, and Philadelphia signed cornerback Cary Williams.
Reed has 14 career touchdowns and is the only player in NFL history to score on a punt return, a blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery. He played in all 16 games during the 2012 regular season, finishing with 58 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.