One of the questions Ed Reed wanted to know before agreeing to sign on with the Jets yesterday as a veteran free agent was if he'd be genuinely wanted. We're pretty sure the applause from all around the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center left no doubt as to the consensus answer.
"The first time it was told to me that Ed was released, it's only rumored that I pulled a hamstring. It's not true," head coach Rex Ryan said with a laugh. "But I immediately did go up top to talk to John [Idzik]. He had a huge smile on his face. I think he anticipated me coming up. But he'd already set things in motion."
Once the pro scouting process was completed and the front office team met Wednesday night to discuss the prospects of bringing aboard the future Pro Football Hall of Famer whose latest season with Houston wasn't looking very Reed-like, there were no dissenters.
It was even a slam dunk among some of the players who might lose playing time to the 12th-year man once he gets up to speed, such as backup safety Josh Bush, who said he wanted the signing to happen as soon as he heard about it Wednesday.
"I introduced myself to him today. I said, 'Mr. Reed, how are you doing? I'm your shadow,' " Bush said. "He's always making plays. And a guy like that who's been doing it for so long, you know he obviously knows something about the game that a lot of people don't know."
Dawan Landry, one of our starting safeties who was the Baltimore starter alongside Reed from 2006-10? Forget about it.
"He's going to be Ed Reed, he's going to play his style of football," said Landry. "He'll bring a lot of veteran leadership, a lot of skills to the back end. We're just glad to have him."
Even guys who patrol the front end of the defense, such as Muhammad Wilkerson, saw benefits to adding Reed to the mix halfway through this season.
"He makes this defense that much better, having a veteran back there who's known for creating havoc, making turnovers and making big plays for the defense," Wilkerson said. "I'm happy he's here and hopefully with his presence, now we'll start to get more turnovers back there."
Ryan, who was his D-coordinator on the Ravens from 2005-08, never had a worry that Reed, suffering through so far the first takeaway-less season of his NFL career for the 2-7 Texans, might be done.
"I would say that's a false statement that he can't play anymore," the coach said. "I saw, everybody in this organization saw that Ed can still move. He never had a pick this year, but quarterbacks obviously knew where he was. We've had some issues playing the deep ball with teams throwing it over our heads. Let 'em throw it there now."
Ryan said Reed is "not going to play every snap, he's not going to start" on Sunday against Buffalo, but wouldn't go any further in discussing his possible role against the Bills and — how about that? — the Ravens in Baltimore the following week.
But there's little reason to think we'll save him for down the road. Reed checked out physically, he's a pro's pro, and he knows the Ryan/Dennis Thurman defensive scheme, all of which he demonstrated at today's practice.
"Even though he's an older guy, he plays like he's still got some 'young 'un' in him," Wilkerson said. "His range from sideline to sideline is amazing."
"Ed approached the game the right way, like a real veteran," Bush said. "He came out practiced just like Dawan practices. With all his credentials and everything, some guys come in and they don't really give that effort in practice. He gave that effort, and that's something that I look at."
Sunday we all can look at Ed Reed in green and white and we'll all form opinions about the transaction. But Ryan made it clear that the addition had nothing to do with sentiment.
"We believe it'll be a great signing for us," said Rex. "He's going to help this football team without question."