The 11-year relationship between safety Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens didn't end like other great players in franchise history, Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden. But, based on the comments from Reed and the Ravens, this was an amicable split and not a bitter divorce.
Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans on Friday that included $5 million guaranteed. He could've been upset that the Ravens didn't match that offer, especially since Baltimore paid him $7.2 million last year. The Ravens could've been irked that Reed didn't show loyalty or agree to a hometown discount.
In his introductory news conference, Reed put on his Texans hat and expressed no hard feelings toward the Ravens. He talked about how the decision to leave Baltimore weighed on him.
Reed said he spoke with owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome this morning and also exchanged emails with coach John Harbaugh.
“It is hard, but football is a small chapter of our lives,” Reed said. “Eventually, we knew Baltimore had to make decisions and they made those decisions."
That decision followed the Ravens' business model for the offseason. Newsome wasn't going over the team's budget to keep Reed, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe or wide receiver Anquan Boldin. His mantra has always been "right player, right price," and it's never rung more true than these past two weeks.
“Our hope is that the Hall of Fame players we drafted could play their entire careers with us, but we understand why Ed is moving on to the Texans," Newsome said in a statement. “He's not the first Hall of Famer to move to another team. Tony Gonzalez is playing with the Falcons. Joe Montana played with the Chiefs. Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson played for the Ravens. How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons. He is one of the Ravens' and NFL's all-time greats. Words cannot measure what he did for us, including helping us win a second Super Bowl. We thank him for all he did for Baltimore. Ed will always be a part of the Ravens family.”
Reed's relationship with the Ravens got rocky at times. It was only last year that Reed said he felt "disrespected" by Baltimore for not signing him to an extension and even contemplated not playing over it. He was also the player to skip the team's mandatory minicamp last year and failed to notify coach John Harbaugh that he was going to do so.
That's why a peaceful parting of the ways between Reed and the Ravens wasn't a given. On sentiment alone, it would've been fitting to see Reed end his career in Baltimore and become a "Raven for life" like Lewis and Ogden. But, for Reed, his departure doesn't diminish his legacy there.
“That’s 11 years that are just storybook," Reed said. "I’m proud to say that the last game was a Super Bowl in Baltimore."