By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON — The Houston Texans gave safety Ed Reed the star treatment on Thursday while losing another key player in free agency.
The 34-year-old Reed met with the Texans at Reliant Stadium after flying to Houston from Atlanta in the morning aboard team owner Bob McNair’s private jet.
The move was tweeted by the team and then Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too.
But no deal was finalized Thursday night and meanwhile, outside linebacker Connor Barwin became the second Texans free agent to sign with Philadelphia this week, joining tight end James Casey.
Houston also cut receiver Kevin Walter and Detroit signed free agent safety Glover Quin, paving the way for the Texans to go after Reed, who’s fresh off helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl.
Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, 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 after setting an NFL record for interception return yards (358), a mark broken by New Orleans’ safety Darren Sharper in 2009.
Reed has scored 14 career touchdowns and is the only player in NFL history to score on a punt return, a blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery.
He played in all 16 games during the 2012 regular season, recording 58 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He was one of only two players on the Baltimore defense, along with cornerback Cary Williams, to start in all 16 games.
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).
The Texans are trying to make a major free-agent addition to their secondary for the second time in three years. When the lockout ended in the summer of 2011, Houston signed cornerback Jonathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning. Houston’s pass defense improved from last in 2010 to third in 2011.
No matter what happens with Reed, the Texans will have to retool their group of linebackers before next season.
Barwin signed a six-year deal with the Eagles after spending his first four NFL seasons in Houston. A second-round pick (46th overall) in 2009, Barwin missed most of the 2010 season with a broken right ankle. He moved to outside linebacker when Phillips became the defensive coordinator and converted the Texans to a 3-4 defense.
Barwin flourished in the new system in 2011, leading the Texans with 11½ sacks. He had only three sacks in 2012.
If the Texans can lure Reed, it would be another blow to the Ravens, who’ve been gutted since winning their second Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Baltimore traded receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick and linebacker Ray Lewis retired and joined ESPN.
When free agency began, linebacker Paul Kruger signed with Cleveland and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left for Miami. Baltimore also released safety Bernard Pollard, a former Texan, and Philadelphia signed Williams.
Reed is represented by David Dunn, also the agent for Walter and Houston quarterback Matt Schaub. It probably helps Houston’s chances, too, that Reed was a college teammate at Miami with Texans star receiver Andre Johnson.
Reed would fill a void created by the departure of Quin, who signed a five-year contract with Detroit. Quin was a fourth-round pick in 2009 and missed only one game in four seasons.