Is it even newsworthy anymore when the Baltimore Ravens lose a starter from their Super Bowl team? It's more newsworthy when the Ravens don't lose a starter for a day. This time, however, it's different because the Ravens said goodbye to safety Ed Reed, the third-best player ever to wear their uniform. He reached an agreement with the Houston Texans on Wednesday night. Hopefully, Ravens fans will remember Reed's dramatic plays on the field and not his painful rendition of "Two Tickets To Paradise," which he sang repeatedly during the team's Super Bowl run. Here's your wake-up call ...
Head coach John Harbaugh was complimentary of Reed after news spread that the free-agent safety agreed to a deal with the Texans. “Ed is a great guy and a very good friend,” Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun. “We will always appreciate what he accomplished as a Raven. He has a lot of good football left and we wish him all the best.”
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is a long shot to leave the team for Alabama's athletic-director vacancy. When asked about the job opening, Newsome replied: "I already have a great job."
Harbaugh said he is "very open" to bringing back free-agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie, according to the team's official website. "I hope that works out and we’ll just have to see," he said. I wouldn't read too much into this. Harbaugh was also "very hopeful" of Reed returning.
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin passed his physical in San Francisco, which completes his trade with the 49ers, according to The Baltimore Sun. The Ravens get a sixth-round pick from the 49ers for Boldin.
Owner Mike Brown wasn't available on Wednesday, but his comments earlier this week explain why the Bengals were the only team to vote against the helmet rule. "I view it as a difficult, if not impossible, play to call," Brown said, via USA Today. "We had a lot of this with the secondary plays last year. I didn't think those calls were always right," he said. "These plays happen in a flash. They're just a reaction to people did he hit him with his shoulder pad, did he hit him with his helmet? Was it intended? That's difficult to sort out. I'm not confident we should add another discretionary call."
Returner Ted Ginn Jr. might not end up with the Bengals after leaving his visit with the Panthers with a contract offer. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Panthers could have the edge over the Bengals because they can offer more playing time at receiver. The Bengals also offered a contract to Ginn.
Linebacker James Harrison isn't drawing much interest in free agency, but The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac doesn't expect him to return to Pittsburgh. "Mike Tomlin effectively said today that the Steelers will play the 2013 season without James Harrison," Dulac wrote.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, the former Steelers offensive coordinator, is excited about reuniting with running back Rashard Mendenhall. "He's a legitimate big-time threat every time he touches the ball," Arians told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He's a big back who never has to come out of the game. He has a 230-pound body with 180-pound feet."
Running back Trent Richardson feels responsible for the new helmet rule. His crushing collision with Philadelphia's Kurt Coleman was the centerpiece of the NFL's decision to ban running backs from using their helmet against defenders. "I feel like I made it bad for all the backs," Richardson told The Plain Dealer. "I feel like it's my fault."
Phil Dawson officially signed a one-year deal with the 49ers worth $2.25 million, which includes a $1 million signing bonus, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. This inexpensive contract shows the Browns could've retained Dawson if they wanted to do so.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was worried about losing backup quarterback Derek Anderson to the Browns and coach Rob Chudzinski, according to The Plain Dealer. Something tells me Browns fans were worried that Cleveland would get him.