Watt on Kubiak's return and Reed's release
On Wednesday, the day after the Texans released the future Hall of Famer, Ed Reed’s locker had already been given away.
Jawanza Starling, an undrafted rookie safety out of USC, who signed this week, moved into the locker that had belonged to the nine-time Pro Bowler.
And like that, the Texans’ major free agent acquisition, any trace of him, was gone.
“Yeah, I am a little bit (surprised),” linebacker Brooks Reed said. “Based off how much they were paying him and whatnot, to release him. They do what they have to do. It’s all upstairs. I don’t have their true motives of why they did that but their best interest is the success of this team, so they’re going to do what they have to do.”
“I was a bit surprised at this point in the season,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “But at the same time, we’re on a seven-game losing streak right now so I don’t really know what to make of the move but obviously it’s a move for the betterment of the team, so you can’t go against it.”
Reed, 35, was the major haul for the team this offseason. Owner Bob McNair even sent a private jet to pick up the former Raven and wooed him until the safety chose to stay. The talk about the town was playoffs, Super Bowls, rainbows and sugar plums.
“In the offseason, myself included, everyone was excited,” said reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, who admitted he was surprised by Reed’s release because of the timing. “Sometimes things don’t necessarily work out the way you thought they would. He’s a Hall of Famer, a great football player and we wish him all the best.”
But recently the talk around Reed had been less about championships and more about the dime package and lack of playing time. And then, there was the talking that Reed did on his own.
After the loss to the Cardinals on Sunday – he played just 12 snaps – Reed said the team was “outplayed and outcoached.” Head coach Gary Kubiak claimed Reed was released for football reasons but there are skeptics because of the timing.
Defensive coordinator and then-interim head coach Wade Phillips said it’s the team’s policy to keep those things in-house. That’s not what Reed did. But while it appeared the Texans didn’t appreciate Reed’s speaking out, on Wednesday, several players raved about the type of teammate he was.
“He was the ultimate teammate,” Joseph said. “He was a great teammate, fun being around. We even joked around and laughed a little bit through text messages yesterday. Just (an) unfortunate situation. Hate to see him go out like that.”
Brooks Reed said Ed Reed was “very friendly” and was the kind of guy teammates could approach for football or life advice.
Andre Johnson has known Reed for over a decade. The two have been friends since their days at the University of Miami and Johnson helped recruit Reed to Houston.
Johnson said he wouldn’t be surprised if Reed – who went unclaimed on waivers Wednesday – ended up on another team this season. Johnson said he also wouldn’t be surprised to see Reed walk away from the NFL.
“The guy’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Johnson said. “What more can you ask for? Can he still play? Yeah. I think so. But if he wants to retire, it’s on him. That’s his decision. But I’m pretty sure when he feels like he needs to make that, he’ll make it.”
A lot has changed since Reed signed with the Texans in the spring. He had hip surgery and couldn’t play until the third game of the season. From that time, the Texans haven’t won a game; they were 0-7 with Reed. A far cry from sugar plums.
“It’s disappointing for everybody. It just didn’t work out,” Johnson said. “That’s pretty much it. I don’t know what else to really say about it. I think it’s disappointing for everybody. Everybody is frustrated. That’s just part of it.”