HOUSTON — Free agent safety Ed Reed left the Houston Texans on Friday with no deal in place.
The nine-time Pro Bowl safety departed Reliant Stadium after two days of talks with the team. He arrived in Houston on Thursday morning aboard team owner Bob McNair’s private jet and the team announced on its Twitter site that he was back at its facility on Friday.
The Texans are trying to sign Reed to make up for an otherwise disappointing free-agency period so far. Receiver Kevin Walter was cut, safety Glover Quin signed with Detroit and tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin signed with Philadelphia.
Houston star receiver Andre Johnson, speaking Friday at an appearance at the Houston Health Museum, said he was confident Reed would eventually join the Texans. Johnson had dinner with Reed, his former college teammate in Miami, on Thursday night.
“If I had a sense of it, I think we’re going to get it done,” Johnson said. “Everything has been going great, it’s all been positive. We had a good dinner last night and we still hung out a little bit after that. He’s very interested in this organization.”
The 34-year-old Reed has played all 11 of his NFL seasons in Baltimore, where he’s the franchise leader in interceptions with 61. His 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. Shortly after Reed helped the Ravens win their second Super Bowl last month, Johnson called Reed shortly to congratulate him. Johnson said that Reed responded, “Thank you. Get me to Houston.”
Johnson, three years younger than Reed, said the two have remained close since helping the Hurricanes win the national championship after the 2001 season.
“He was just a guy who kind of took me under his wing,” Johnson said. “He’s just been like that big brother. Whenever you need to talk about something, you could go to him. He was the leader of our team when we were in college, and I think he can bring the same thing to us.”
Johnson was the third overall pick by Houston in the 2003 draft and he’s the only player who’s been here since before Gary Kubiak arrived in 2006. Like Reed, Johnson has spent his entire pro career in one place and suggested that maybe that’s factoring into Reed’s thinking.
But Johnson also got the sense that Reed felt very comfortable with the Texans.
“If he didn’t really strongly consider coming here, he wouldn’t have come,” Johnson said.
In 2010, the Texans signed Johnson to a two-year contract extension worth up to $38.5 million. He said Friday that the Texans haven’t asked him to restructure his contract to free up more money for Reed. But Johnson said he would be willing to do it if the team thought it would help.
“It’s something we joked about, playing together again,” Johnson said. “You never think that will happen. But the opportunity has presented itself. Hopefully, we’ll take advantage of it.”
Losing Reed would be another blow to the Ravens this offseason.
They traded receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick and linebacker Ray Lewis retired and joined ESPN. When free agency began, linebacker Paul Kruger signed with Cleveland and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left for Miami. Baltimore also released safety Bernard Pollard, a former Texan, and Philadelphia signed cornerback Cary Williams.
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’s deal with hip and neck injuries in recent years, but he’s played in all 16 games in all but three of his 11 seasons. The exceptions were 2005 (10 games), 2009 (12) and 2010 (10).
Reed would fill the vacancy left by the departure of Quin, who signed a five-year contract with Detroit. Quin was a fourth-round pick in 2009 and was the starting free safety in each of the past two seasons. He made 107 tackles, including his first career sack, in 2012 had started 60 consecutive games for Houston.
“He’s a great player, probably the best safety to ever play the game of football,” Johnson said. “He’s a great player to have in the locker room. He’s a ball hawk, he creates big plays on defense. We’d love to have him as part of our organization.”