Experience aside, the Texans also believe Reed can still play at an elite level.
Reed was the NFL’s top defensive player in 2004 and he’s intercepted nine passes in 15 career postseason games. He’s also been durable, playing in all 16 games in all but three of his seasons. He’s dealt with hip, neck and right shoulder injuries in recent years, but he made it through the entire 2012 season without missing a game, making 58 tackles and intercepted four passes.
“To say we have added a player who can impact a game is an understatement,” Smith said. “I am truly thankful that this deal came together. We always talk about player acquisitions, what are you trying to do, whether it’s in the draft or free agency? We’re trying to add players that are quality men, that make an impact on the game. Certainly, we feel like we’ve done that with Mr. Reed.”
Houston wasn’t shy about its plans to pursue Reed, announcing on Twitter that it was sending McNair’s private jet to pick up Reed in Atlanta, where he has an offseason home.
Reed spent two days in the city and had dinner with Texans star receiver Andre Johnson, one of his college teammates at Miami. The two played on the Hurricanes’ 2001 national championship team and Johnson said at a public appearance last week that he and Reed talked about playing together in the pros some day.
Even though Reed left town last week without signing a contract, Johnson was optimistic that Reed would become a Texan, and he turned out to be right. It helped Houston’s chances that Reed grew up in nearby New Orleans and still has family living there.
“Texas is neighbors to Louisiana, I feel it in the weather,” Reed said. “Knowing that my mom, my dad can drive right on over and see me play football, bring my little nephews, that’s something that you can’t take back. That’s something that won’t ever happen in life.”
Reed says he’s also highly motivated to help his close friend Johnson win a Super Bowl.
“I know where his heart is at, for this city,” Reed said. “There’s no other person I want to help more do that than him. That’s just what we’re reaching for, man.”