After Seven Straight Losses, the Ed Reed Era Is Over in Houston
"Arizona played their best ball. We played really well outside of certain situations. Certain situations, we just got outplayed and out-coached." -- Ed Reed, Sunday after the 27-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals
Back in the middle of March, Ed Reed was flying back and forth to Houston on owner Bob McNair's private jet, an extravagant courtship with a few twists and turns that ultimately resulted in Reed signing a three-year, $15 million deal to become a Houston Texan.
Not just a Houston Texan, but a vocal leader for an aspiring Super Bowl team, a ball-hawking Buddha at safety for a team missing that "it" factor.
But after seven games played (all losses), 16 tackles, no turnovers caused, one unceremonious benching and possibly one fateful post-game media session, the jet airliner ride into Houston has turned into a rental car ride out of town.
Ed Reed was cut today by the Houston Texans.
For these Texans, Ed Reed was supposed to be the missing piece. Instead, he was just missing in action, a debilitated, infuriating symbol of this hellacious 2-7 season.
Truth be told, this marriage between player and team (partially arranged by longtime Reed friend and Houston franchise icon Andre Johnson) peaked at the introductory press conference, for that was the only time that Ed Reed wore a thread of Texans gear (a baseball hat, for the record) where it felt like the Texans were getting what they thought they were buying.
Yep, the best Ed Reed moment as a Texan involved him wearing street clothes, apropos indeed. From there, it was all downhill.
Anticipation for how Reed would fit into Wade Phillips's defense and how he would somehow (through osmosis, I guess) impart Super Bowl-winning wisdom to these Texans turned into concern when it was discovered shortly after he signed that Reed would be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his hip.
Concern turned into skepticism and distrust over whether or not Reed knew he was damaged goods (How could he not?), and distrust turned to dark comedy when Reed was essentially a glorified assistant coach throughout training camp. That is, when he wasn't rehabbing his injury somewhere other than Houston.
It honestly reached a point during training camp where Reed being a Texan didn't even feel real. I joked on my radio show that it was similar to Jefferson in the '80s movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High , where the other kids at the school thought that Jefferson didn't even go to school there, that he "just flew in for games."
Hey, Jefferson may have been an absentee student at Ridgemont High, but at least he played!
Oh, sure, Reed eventually saw the field for the Texans, and this is where dark comedy turned into anger, because it was clear, perhaps due to age, perhaps due to injury, likely a combination of the two, that Ed Reed couldn't play. He was slow, he couldn't tackle, he was persona non grata.
In short, the Texans thought they were getting the version of Ed Reed that had a 98 Madden score. Instead, they inadvertently downloaded some knock-off create-your-own-player version of Reed, likely concocted by an angry Steelers fan who gave him a 60 in every category.
And that should have been the reason that Ed Reed was cut today -- he is no longer good at football.
Sadly, the timing is a logical indicator that the trigger mechanism for Reed's ejection from Team Bulls on Parade was his post-Arizona game commentary (again, true commentary) that the team was outplayed and outcoached in certain situations on Sunday. Whether it was Reed's place to be saying that, especially considering the last impactful play he made on a football field was while wearing a Baltimore Ravens uniform, is the obvious debate.
Well, there was no debate for the Texans. Bad player, contrary opinions, the willingness to voice said opinions.
See you later, Ed.
(I will caveat this with the outside chance that Reed asked for his release. We don't know about that.)
While signing Ed Reed was a disaster, releasing him is justifiable. Yet only this Texans management regime could actually execute the correct move and have you feeling worse about the direction of the franchise.
For Randy Bullock will be your starting placekicker this Sunday, and it's impossible to juxtapose retaining Bullock and releasing Reed, and then puff your chest out and say that this is a strict, results-based business.
Sometimes, sadly, it helps just to keep your mouth shut.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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