HOUSTON - Ed Reed knew right from the start of free agency that he wanted to play for the Texans and that his days in Baltimore were over.
The nine-time Pro Bowl safety signed a three-year, $15 million contract with Houston on Friday, adding championship experience to the Texans' defense and leaving the reigning Super Bowl champions without yet another of their cornerstone players.
Reed said Texans general manager Rick Smith called him on the first day of free agency and the Texans were his first choice from then.
"I think we both knew, just from the conversation, how things were going and how this would work," Reed said. "It just was a matter of time with getting it done."
The Texans' gain was one more offseason blow to Baltimore, where Reed played his first 11 NFL seasons.
Star linebacker Ray Lewis retired and the Ravens traded receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers. With salary-cap limitations, Baltimore lost linebackers Paul Kruger (Cleveland) and Dannell Ellerbe (Miami) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia) in free agency. The Ravens also cut safety Bernard Pollard, who signed with Tennessee.
"How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He is one of the Ravens' and NFL's all-time greats. Words cannot measure what he did for us, including helping us win a second Super Bowl. We thank him for all he did for Baltimore. Ed will always be a part of the Ravens family."
Reed called Houston "a perfect fit," and already knows the Texans well from their three meetings with Baltimore since October 2011. He sees the Texans now where the Ravens used to be.
• Instead of celebrating their Super Bowl title with a game at their home stadium as the NFL prefers, the Baltimore Ravens will start the 2013 regular season on the road, because Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles wouldn't budge.
The NFL wanted the Ravens to play in Baltimore at night on Sept. 5. But the Orioles are set to host the Chicago White Sox next door on that date, and the leagues and teams unable to reach a compromise.
• Harlon Hill, the former star receiver for the Chicago Bears whose name adorns the NCAA Division II player of the year trophy, has died Thursday in Florence, Ala. He was 80. He was the NFL rookie of the year in 1954 after being drafted in the 15th round by the Bears, and became the first winner of the Jim Thorpe Trophy as the NFL's most valuable player in 1955.
• St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson was arrested on a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge in Missoula, Mont., where he played college football for the University of Montana.