Ravens: Now a Texan, Reed embraced in return

Ravens: Now a Texan, Reed embraced in return
Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph and safety Ed Reed break up a pass intended for Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith in the first half of the Ravens' 30-9 win over the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

BALTIMORE - It was the first time Ed Reed suited up for a team other than the Baltimore Ravens in his 12-year career.
And yet, the game still had a familiar feel for the 35-year-old safety.
Reed ran out from the tunnel prior to the game and took the field at M&T Bank Stadium, the same field he called home for the past 11 seasons. But this time, he ran through the visitors' tunnel with his new Houston Texans teammates.
It didn't matter to the Baltimore fans, though. They still greeted him with a warm reception and chants of Reed's last name.
"When I first ran out, the whole stadium yelled my name. There's so much love and memories that I have here in this city. It's like family," Reed said. "They'll always be there. It's something you cherish as a player."
Reed wanted to play last week against the Tennessee Titans. He didn't want his Texans debut to be in Baltimore, the city that he helped bring a Super Bowl title to just seven months ago.
But it was. And in the end, Reed said it was the right decision as he had still been feeling lingering effects from the arthroscopic hip surgery he had to repair a torn labrum in April.
Both before and after the game, Reed was embraced by Ravens players and members of the Baltimore organization.
Reed, the Raven's all-time interceptions leader with 61, hugged and chatted with Ravens coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti prior to Sunday's kickoff.
"There's tremendous respect and love there," Harbaugh said. "Ed will forever be a Raven. He's a Texan now, but he'll forever be a Raven."
At halftime, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome hugged Reed as he left the field.
Reed wasn't the only departed member of last year's championship team in Baltimore Sunday. Ray Lewis was inducted into Baltimore's Ring of Honor at halftime.
Reed made it clear he didn't want to steal Lewis' spotlight, no matter how much joking Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs did after the game.
"Suggs made a comment to me, and I know the guy's a weirdo, he made a comment about me coming back trying to play this game and make interceptions and trying to rain on Ray's parade," Reed said. "That wasn't the case, and that's never the case."
Despite the heartfelt return, Baltimore fans were glad to see Reed not make much of an impact in Sunday's game. Reed started at free safety and had three tackles, and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco didn't throw in his direction often.
Reed said that's part of being a player with big-play potential.
"If you're a playmaker, that's what it's going to be. It's not going to be that many chances coming your way," Reed said. "Coach Harbaugh came up to me and was like, 'You've still got it.' And I know coach and the players have a lot of respect for me, and the feeling's mutual."
After the Ravens' 30-9 win against Reed's Texans Sunday, some Baltimore fans, about three rows deep, waited outside of Houston's tunnel to send Reed off.
It was a gesture Reed said he appreciated.
"Not everybody gets that welcome when they come back," Reed said. "This was home. It's still part of my life. It always will be."
Reed's 11-year-run with the Ravens culminated with his first Super Bowl title. And one day, he'll be back to receive the honor Lewis did Sunday.
But for now, Reed is focused on helping the Texans.
Some of his former teammates acknowledged it was different going up against Reed.
"It was weird to see him on the other side, not going to lie. It's pretty weird to look over there and it's not practice," Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said.
Added Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata: "You wish him well, but you don't want him to do well against us. After the game I gave him a hug, and hopefully he just continues to feel better and get better."
Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb added he was glad to see the fans welcome back Reed, as his contributions to the team were special.
"They love him around here," Webb said. "And it's good because he did some special things around here for Baltimore, some things that probably no other safety will ever do."