It will be very strange to see Ed Reed wearing a Houston Texans jersey after spending the last 11 seasons as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, but the future Hall of Famer is at least departing with class.
On Sunday, Reed took out a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun to thank fans, the city of Baltimore and the organization for all of their support throughout the years. It reads as follows:
My eleven seasons in Baltimore were more than I would have ever imagined, which is why I have such deep love for you all. I will forever cherish my time with the Ravens and the chills that ran down my spine when I finally kissed the Lombardi Trophy.
Special thanks to the City, Team, Organization and all the Fans! I'm going to miss being a part of this tremendous team and organization, but I'll always be Baltimore and my Foundation will remain in this community, this is not a goodbye, but a See You Soon.
Thank you for everything Baltimore, God Bless you.
ED REED #20
This past week, Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Texans. It was a pretty good haul for the 34-year-old and clearly more than the Ravens were willing to spend to keep one of the greatest players in franchise history.
For his career, Reed has 61 interceptions, 10 fumbles recovered and seven defensive touchdowns. He was the 2004 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, has been voted into nine Pro Bowls and is a five-time First-Team All-Pro. He has only failed to play a full 16 games in the regular season three times.
Without question, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
His departure is the latest in a long list for Baltimore this season.
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, linebacker Paul Kruger signed with the Cleveland Browns, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe signed with the Miami Dolphins, cornerback Cary Williams signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and safety Bernard Pollard was cut and signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Oh, and Ray Lewis retired. There won't be many familiar faces on Baltimore's defense next season, and while Joe Flacco may enjoy his new contract, he'll certainly be lamenting the loss of Boldin.
But the losses of Lewis and Reed will be felt the most. The pair led Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory this year and regularly kept the Ravens defense as one of the NFL's most fearsome units.
It has been a rough offseason for Ravens fans, but at least Reed could leave them with his gratitude and appreciation for the last 11 years.
He gave Baltimore a lot of good times, and according to Reed, the city and Ravens organization returned the favor.