HOUSTON—Ed Reed is sure getting the red-carpet treatment from the Houston Texans.
The Texans on Thursday said the free agent safety was picked up in by general manager Rick Smith in the private jet of Texans owner Bob McNair. The move was tweeted by the team for all the world to see and then Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too.
Signing Reed would make up for an otherwise disappointing week for Houston. The Texans cut receiver Kevin Walter, then lost tight end James Casey to Philadelphia and safety Glover Quin to Detroit after the opening of the free agency signing period.
Outside linebacker Connor Barwin, cornerback Brice McCain and linebacker Tim Dobbins were among Houston’s other key unrestricted free agents.
The 34-year-old Reed played for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens. Reed is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions with 61, and his 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He was the NFL’s top defensive player in 2004 and a nine-time Pro Bowler.
Reed has scored 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, recording 58 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He was one of only two players on the defense, along with cornerback Cary Williams, to start in all 16 games.
Although he’s battled hip and neck injuries in recent years, Reed has played in all 16 games in all but three of his 11 seasons. The exceptions were 2005 (10 games), 2009 (12) and 2010 (10).
The Texans are trying to make a major free-agent addition to their secondary for the second time in three years. When the lockout ended in the summer of 2011, Houston signed cornerback Jonathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning. Houston’s pass defense improved from last in 2010 to third in 2011.
The pass defense dipped to 17th last season (225.8 yards per game) and gave up 54 receptions covering at least 20 yards.