Ed Reed wore a Texans hat and jeans. He held up a No. 20 Texans jersey and posed for pictures.
The longtime Baltimore Raven and future Hall of Famer officially signed his new contract, and was introduced to the media Friday afternoon.
“Glad to be here. This is awesome,” Reed said at the start.
He said Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith called him on the first day of free agency, and that it was “just a matter of time before getting it done.” Reed thanked the Texans for rolling out the red carpet for him on his visit last week, which included being picked up by a private jet.
“Anybody who is a football fan and knows me knows this is the right place to me, knows that this is the perfect situation,” Reed said.
“I still love football, know I can play football. It was just a matter of being somewhere that fits – for me and the team.”
The Ravens reportedly did not offer Reed as much money as the Texans, who inked Reed to a three-year, $15 million deal with $5 million guaranteed.
Still, Reed said the decision to leave Baltimore weighed on him and he prayed about it, including with Senior Advisor of Player Development O.J. Brigance, who he called a “brother.”
“It is hard, but football is a small chapter of our lives,” Reed said. “Eleven years is a great book. The way it ended, you can’t write a better script. Eventually, we knew Baltimore had to make decisions and they made those decisions.
“That’s 11 years that are just storybook. I’m proud to say that the last game was a Super Bowl in Baltimore. That will never be taken back. I’ll always be in that community and always be forever grateful to the fans, to my city, to my neighborhood, to my neighbors.”
Reed was asked whether General Manager Ozzie Newsome would be the hardest person to leave. Reed said no, explaining it was everybody.
“Football is what we do, it’s our job, it’s a business. But the relationships I have with people in Baltimore will never change,” said Reed, who emailed Newsome, Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh Friday morning.
“They’ve taught me well from a player’s perspective, from a business perspective and just as a man. When I was in Baltimore it was all about raising men, not just having players come in and out of there. There was a reason why it built up to the success. For everybody that wore purple and black, it was tough.”
Reed joins a Texans defense that already touts a strong front seven led by reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. He’ll be in the secondary with Pro Bowl cornerback Jonathan Joseph.
Texans Owner Bob McNair said Reed was a target for the Texans because they wanted to add veteran leadership to help them in the playoffs, where they’ve lost two years in a row in the divisional round.
Houston also lacked a playmaking center fielder, and McNair said the expectation is that Reed will help them compete against the likes of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“From my perspective, it was quite clear that Baltimore was able to play the Patriots and they were very effective,” McNair said. “I think their center fielder had a lot to do with that.”
Reed will travel back to Baltimore to face the Ravens during the 2013 regular season in what will be a highly-publicized reunion. He was visibly amped to join one of the league’s top defenses, and has already asked for his playbook.
“We have a squad man,” Reed said of the Texans. “This is going to be an exciting year.”