As Ed Reed prepares to return to Baltimore for a second time this season with a different team, his Wednesday conference call with the Ravens media wasn’t whimsical or reflective about his time in purple and black.
Reed, who kept most of his negative feelings toward the Texans to himself after signing with the New York Jets last week, unleashed some of his more honest thoughts about why Houston released him just seven games into a three-year, $15 million contract.
Reed never meshed with Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and blamed Phillips for things not working out in Houston. And Reed was surprised by the way things worked out.
The 35-year-old safety opened up after a question about reuniting with Jets head coach Rex Ryan, Reed’s former defensive coordinator in Baltimore.
“It’s really good because I’ve played this game for a long time and been around a lot of football, and coming from the situation that I came from to a coach that understands you and respects your game, respects you as men, respects the players as men, it’s a good thing,” Reed said. “It’s a good thing to be back around that, knowing that the whole league is not that way.”
So the Texans defense wasn’t a good fit for Reed?
“That defense is not a good fit for a lot of people who are still down there,” Reed said. “So it wasn’t just about me and that’s what my comments were. My comments were not just about me and obviously that’s why I’m not there anymore, because some people felt some type of way about what I said. You know, the truth is the truth, man. That’s the reason why what happened last week happened.
“They know I know, so I mean, people might feel a certain way, like Ed did this and Ed didn’t do things on the football field. But you’ve got to look at the play-calling. People don’t know how the schematic part of it goes. You’ve got to put your players in position to make plays as well from a coach’s perspective. ...
“I’m past it, man. I wasn’t frustrated because God don’t make mistakes. I wasn’t frustrated at all. It was just a matter of trying to help the team. I was willing to do whatever and I think I displayed that. The ball wasn’t really coming my way. People try to point out a play in San Francisco when Vernon Davis scored. You know, the guy wasn’t even my guy. He’s not even my man. Granted, I didn’t catch him, but bad angle. But they’re looking for every reason to put everything on Ed Reed, and that’s funny. That’s funny to me and kind of funny that I’m speaking in third person about that.”
Reed said he spoke to Phillips before leaving Houston, and more strongly expressed that their relationship led to the parting of ways.
“Yeah, Wade said something to me. He came in, basically just made sure I was leaving and I would say he’s probably the guy, the reason why I’m not there,” Reed said. “And it’s all good. I’m not worried about it. If they all want to do a sitdown at some point, we can do a sitdown.”
This has been an interesting year for Reed. He finished his time in Baltimore with a Super Bowl win. He then signed a lucrative deal with the Texans, and then landed on his feet with the Jets, who Reed said was the only team that contacted him.
What has it been like?
“I don’t do roller coasters,” Reed said. “It’s been going as I always saw this business. It’s been going as I’ve always seen this business. I think that I’ve been able to see this side of things, a side of things that I always told players about, and I know what my situation was with the last team and why that happened. So I’m good with that and I’m grateful to be where I’m at right now with people who appreciate you for what you did over your career and what you can do, what you still do on the football field.”
Reed said he wasn’t ready to retire if the Jets hadn’t called.
“I’m pretty sure somebody would’ve called. I know I wasn’t ready to go play golf,” he said.
But Reed is enjoying his current situation - starting for New York, returning to a playoff race and being a part of a defense with which he’s familiar.
“(I’m) very comfortable,” he said. “That was part of my decision of signing here, knowing that I could come in, know the defense, be effective and not worry about all the (stuff) that goes along with the business side of things. ...
“I’m just going to continue to do what I’ve always done. I felt like I played decent (last week) - had a few tackles, kind of left a few plays out there I think. But for the most part, there really hasn’t been much action from a passing standpoint my way. So, just staying on my Ps and Qs, and just ready for whatever and just play the game like I always played it.”
And now Reed comes back to Baltimore for the second time this season, this time with the Jets. In Week 3 with Houston, Reed received a warm reception. Fans chanted his name as he came out of the tunnel and applauded him as he left the field.
He hopes for the same this week.
“I’m sure it probably will be. I’m not sure,” Reed said. “The situation is a little different, the standings are different. Those guys are playing for something, we’re playing for something. So I’m sure the welcome will be good. I spent a lot of time down in Baltimore and I’m planning on spending a lot of time after football in Baltimore. So, I hope there’s a warm welcome.”
As for how Reed might spend that post-football time in Baltimore, could it be as a member of the Ravens organization?
“I don’t know how that’s going to go,” he said. “If a position opens up or something like that, of course. I know football. You have a lot of people working around football that never even played the game. So if you can’t give Ed a job - third person again - I don’t know what to tell you. I’ll probably get away from it for a while and just play a lot of golf around Baltimore and spend some time in the school system that I wasn’t able to do during football season.”