Ed Reed is sure getting the red-carpet treatment from the Texans.
The Texans on Thursday said the free agent safety was picked up by general manager Rick Smith in the private jet of Texans owner Bob McNair. The move was tweeted by the team for all the world to see, then Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too.
Signing Reed would make up for an otherwise disappointing week for Houston. The Texans cut receiver Kevin Walter, then lost tight end James Casey and linebacker Connor Barwin to the Eagles and safety Glover Quin to the Lions after the opening of the free agency signing period.
Cornerback Brice McCain, and linebacker Tim Dobbins were among Houston’s other key unrestricted free agents.
The 34-year-old Reed played for the Super Bowl-winning Ravens. Reed is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions with 61, and his 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He was the NFL’s top defensive player in 2004 and a nine-time Pro Bowler.
Although he’s battled hip and neck injuries in recent years, Reed has played in all 16 games in all but three of his 11 seasons. The exceptions were 2005 (10 games), 2009 (12) and 2010 (10).
Jackson signs with Atlanta
The Falcons replaced Michael Turner with another proven, productive running back, signing Steven Jackson, the top running back in free agency, to a three-year, $12 million deal.
The 30-year-old Jackson had 1,042 yards rushing and four touchdowns with the Rams last season. It was his eighth straight season with more than 1,000 yards rushing.
‘‘I think this is a very big signing for us,’’ Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. ‘‘It continues to bolster our offensive firepower. It gives us not only strength, power in running ability but also the versatility to catch out of the backfield, which is a very important part of this offense.’’
In separate posts on his Twitter feed, Jackson referred to Dimitroff and Falcons owner Arthur Blank as he thanked the Falcons for the new deal.
‘‘To the AMAZING Atlanta Falcons Owner, GM & Management team, I SINCERELY THANK EACH OF YOU for making this happen. I EAGERLY anticipate 2013!’’ Jackson tweeted.
Jackson would have earned $7 million with the Rams in 2013 before he opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
Jackson’s 10,135 yards rushing for his career are the most of any active player. He set career highs with 1,528 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns with St. Louis in 2006.
Colts add Francois
Less than 24 hours after adding Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry to the roster, the Colts struck two more deals, this time landing 49ers defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois and re-signing cornerback Darius Butler. Terms of the deals were not immediately available . . . Carl Poston, the agent, for Charles Woodson, said the veteran defensive back’s visit with the 49ers Wednesday went well and they were just waiting to hear back from the team. The NFC champions are also reportedly wooing former Lions safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was released by the Eagles Tuesday . . . The Redskins signed free agent offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood, giving the team another inexpensive contender for the vacant right tackle position. The former Boston College standout has started 84 games over seven seasons, all with Tampa Bay . . . The Buccaneers signed linebacker Jonathan Casillas and receiver Kevin Ogletree . . . The Cardinals agreed to a three-year contract with inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who played for the Vikings the past four seasons, accumulating a career-high 117 tackles in 2012.
Vikings seek Jennings
The Vikings are interested in wide receiver Greg Jennings, the latest Packers free agent pursued by their NFC North rival. The 29-year-old Jennings played in only eight games for the Packers in 2012, plus two in the playoffs, because of a torn lower abdominal muscle and finished with a career-low 366 yards receiving with an average of 10.2 yards per catch, also his worst NFL total. In 2011, he missed three games with a sprained left knee. But as the Vikings well know, Jennings has been one of the best in the league since he was drafted in the second round in 2006 out of Western Michigan. He has three years of at least 1,100 yards receiving and two 12-touchdown seasons. In 14 career games against the Vikings, Jennings racked up 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Packers won 10 times . . . Matt Cassel’s rocky career with the Chiefs came to an abrupt ending when Kansas City cut their former starting quarterback with two years left on his contract. However, just hours later the former Patriot reached an agreement to join the Vikings as the backup for Christian Ponder. Details were not disclosed Continued...