It is actually pretty cruel.
I, just like any Ravens fan, love Ed Reed. He is one of my favorite players to ever play the game. He played instinctually, with reckless abandon and no respect for his body. He is one of the most intelligent players in the league. He is a nine time Pro Bowler, a eight time All-Pro, a three time NFL interceptions leader, a NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and a Superbowl Champion, all with the Baltimore Ravens.
Which is what makes the next statement so painful.
There is no room for Ed Reed on the Baltimore Ravens anymore.
The Ravens tried to keep him, but he chose the Houston Texans. Even though that has not worked out, the Ravens moved on. Matt Elam, the Ravens first round draft pick, is playing at a higher level than Ed is capable of anymore. So is James Ihedigbo, who had 2 interceptions last game against the Bengals. The new look Ravens defense is starting to come together and adding Reed would not help them.
Make no mistake; I would love to have Ed back. He could provide valuable leadership right now and could provide all the young players with an unmatched understanding of the game. But the fact remains that Ed is no longer good enough to start and would not be an adequate special teamer.
Baltimore Beat Down’s Kris Jones already detailed all the reasons why Ed will not come back. Right now, my heart wants him back but my brain knows not to bring him back.
Barring an early retirement, the ends of NFL players’ careers are not pretty. Not everybody gets to ride off into the sunset with a Superbowl ring like Ray Lewis. More often then not, it is more like Derrick Mason, who was cut by the Ravens, signed with the Jets, traded to the Texans, cut by the Texans, and finally retired as a Raven, all in the course of a year.
Maybe the Texans saved the Ravens. Maybe they avoided any awkward situations where Reed may have been benched by his team in favor of a younger player instead of having issues in Houston. But it still seems cruel.
Just as I had gotten over it and could finally look at a blue and red #20 jersey, Houston had to reopen the wound that formed the day he left. The possibility of Reed playing in M&T Bank Stadium as a Raven is now back, which will make it even more difficult when he inevitably plays for another team.