"Wheels up! GM Rick Smith is on his way to pick up free agent S Ed Reed in #Texans chairman & CEO Bob McNair's private jet!" -- @HoustonTexans, March 14, 2013
From about the time the wheels of Bob McNair's jet left ground to about the time Ed Reed actually had to set foot on a football field wearing a Texans uniform, the relationship between Reed and the team felt a lot more like one-way idol worship than a typical player/team, employee/employer situation.
Put simply, if it's possible for a franchise to collectively jock-sniff a player, it felt all along that's what the Texans were doing with Ed Reed.
So enamored of Reed's pedigree and pelts on the wall were McNair and Rick Smith, so convinced were they that Reed was the missing piece, so convinced that his past success against New England as a Baltimore Raven was the FastPass for the Texans to get to the AFC Championship Game, that Reed managed to slip a banged-up hip past them during the due diligence process.
And unfortunately in the NFL, there's no customer service counter to take your receipt to and return your defective "Ed Reed." You buy it, you own it. And for the love of all that is holy, did the Texans own a lemon. By any conceivable measurement, the Reed acquisition was a complete and total bust.
Overspending? Well, they could have kept Glover Quin (whose agent claims he never received a Texans offer) for around the same cap figure. So, check.
Poor play? After missing the first two games still recovering from the hip surgery, Reed was a total non-factor and wound up benched by Week 7. So, again, check.
Truculence and problem in the locker room? Well, he openly questioned coaches and within 24 hours after leaving the team, basically called Wade Phillips an imbecile. So, yeah, check and check.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
By the time the aftermath of the Arizona loss was over, it was fairly obvious what needed to happen. Reed needed to go. So the Texans released him, and Rex Ryan (his former defensive coordinator in Baltimore) gave him a soft place to land in New York, because the only person whose impression of Reed the player was more misshapen than McNair's and Smith's in March was Rex Ryan's in November.
I had five (5) Ed Reed posts on Hair Balls in 2013, good enough for tenth place on the 2013 King of Content rankings. Here they are:
March 15, 2013: NFL Free Agency 2013: Assessing the Texans' Damage March 21, 2013: Ed Reed Is a Texan! Raven Fans Sound Off November 12, 2013: After Seven Straight Losses, the Ed Reed Era Is Over in Houston November 14, 2013: Ed Reed Gone, the Epilogue: "It All Gets Back to Football" December 4, 2013: Ed Reed Update: Rex Ryan's "Big Strong Man"
Starting January 3, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.