Ed Reed and the Ravens hoped that the future Hall of Famer would finish his career in Baltimore.
But the two sides ultimately couldn't agree on a deal, and the free agent safety ended up going to Houston. The Texans announced Friday that they had signed Reed to a three-year contract. The deal is reportedly worth up to $15 million, with $5 million guaranteed, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
The decision ended an historic 11-year run for Reed in Baltimore, concluding a memorable chapter of Ravens history.
"How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons," General Manger Ozzie Newsome said. "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 decided to go to Houston after an aggressive push from the Texans, which included a trip to the team's facility on Owner Bob McNair's private jet. Houston is close to his hometown of New Orleans, and the Texans are also contenders that have realistic Super Bowl aspirations.
"We understand why Ed is moving on to the Texans," Newsome said.
The Ravens drafted Reed in the first round (24th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, and he went on to become arguably the best safety to ever play the game.
Reed had a knack for making big plays and a flare for the dramatic, and he owns a number of Ravens and NFL records. His 61 career interceptions are the most in team history, and his 1,541 interception return yards are an NFL record.
He made the Pro Bowl in nine of his 11 seasons and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. Along with fellow future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, Reed helped build the Ravens defense into one of the most consistent and feared units in the NFL.
Reed also connected with the Baltimore community and was a fan favorite throughout his career.
"Ed has had a major impact on our organization and our community," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"He is a great player and a great friend. We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together."
Reed will be the first sure-fire Ravens Hall of Famer not to finish his career in purple and black. Lewis and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden both spent their entire careers in Baltimore.
But in today's era of the NFL, staying in one place for an entire career is rare.
"He's not the first Hall of Famer to move to another team," Newsome said. "Tony Gonzalez is playing with the Falcons. Joe Montana played with the Chiefs. Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson played for the Ravens."
The Ravens will now begin a new era Baltimore football, one without Reed and Lewis.
And while Reed's time with a Ravens has come to a close, Newsome emphasized that his contributions to the organization won't be forgotten anytime soon.