Reed missed the first two games after hip surgery and was recently relegated to a backup role. On Friday, he expressed his displeasure at not starting. On Sunday, after Houston's seventh straight loss, he publicly criticized the team and said they had been outplayed and outcoached in the team's first full game without coach Gary Kubiak, who is recovering from a mini-stroke.
Interim coach Wade Phillips, who is the team's defensive coordinator, seemed unhappy when asked about Reed's comments on Monday.
"Everybody has their own feelings about what's happening," Phillips said. "They have their own ideas about what's happening or didn't happen. We try to keep everything in house."
A few hours before the Texans announced his release, Reed tweeted: "Thanks to the Texans! And the City of Htown!"
The 35-year-old Reed was signed to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason after he spent his entire 11-year career with Baltimore. The Texans courted him in an effort to beef up what they saw as an elite defensive unit that needed an upgrade in the secondary to make an expected run at the Super Bowl.
But Reed never showed the playmaking ability he had become known for in Baltimore and had just 16 tackles this season.
The move could mean the end of the career of a player many believe is the best to ever play his position. He was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and led the league in interceptions that season and again in 2008 and 2010. He's made the Pro Bowl in each of the last seven seasons and was a five-time All-Pro.
He started each game for the Ravens last season and had four interceptions and 49 tackles to help them to a Super Bowl win. A first-round draft pick in 2002, his 61 career interceptions were most among active players and he has 109 passes defended, 524 tackles and 11 forced fumbles in 167 games.
The Texans (2-7) have gone from Super Bowl contenders to AFC bottom-feeders. Besides Kubiak's health problems, quarterback Matt Schaub was benched and standout linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season to an injury.
Now the Texans lose Foster, who needs back surgery. He didn't practice last week after injuring his back on Houston's first series against Indianapolis. The former Pro Bowl player gained 542 yards on 121 carries with one touchdown and had 22 receptions and another score this season.
Ben Tate, still recovering from four broken ribs, carried 15 times Sunday against the Cardinals for just 56 yards. He is expected to start against Oakland (3-6) on Sunday, backed up by Dennis Johnson and Deji Karim.