I hesitated greatly while deciding whether or not to give the item below from Mike Preston too much legitimacy, just as I did yesterday with Nolan Nawrocki’s amateur Geno Smith psychology before evidently becoming one of the few football writers who show up on your computer daily to take the proper route, and ignore his baiting, holding back from writing an oozing takedown and feeding the beast.

Making an evaluation of a player that goes against the mainstream is more than fine, it’s encouraged, as it creates discourse. But a prospect’s personality and character can’t be judged by what you see on tape. To do that you have to, you know, meet and talk to the guy. Just as he did two years ago with Cam Newton when the eventual offensive rookie of the year was accused of having a fake smile, Nawrocki lobbed his personal assaults from a distant, digging into Smith’s character without having built a relationship with him. He was called lazy, and accused of needing to be coddled, yet so very many others who have met Smith are saying directly the opposite.

Sigh. See what you did, Nolan? My anger, it has risen with the mere mention of your name, leading to yet another tangent, and the troll has won. I’ve become what I was proudly avoiding. I have failed.

This morning, though, we have some possible baiting of a different variety. And thus we return to one Mr. Preston

Preston writes his words for the Baltimore Sun, and in his latest notebook style post, he dropped this about Ed Reed, the newest Houston Texans safety and the hall of famer who’s officially a former Raven:

It was interesting to see how the national media made it seem like the Ravens were in a bidding war with Houston for former safety Ed Reed.

The Ravens made it appear that way out of respect for Reed, and it certainly put more money in Reed’s pocket. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted Reed back as much as he wants a root canal.

It was the perfect time for both parties to go their separate ways.

Now, I’m sure Preston’s connected, and maybe this is true. But such a massive, scathing report shouldn’t be hidden among the weeds of a notes column as a quick throwaway point. That’s especially true when we’re discussing a beloved player among the fanbase, and one who’s still highly effective despite his age. Say what you will about the number on Reed’s birth certificate, but unless the Ravens draft a premier safety later this month, there’s no debating the fact that he’ll be missed, and sorely.

Earlier in the same column Preston also notes that Baltimore has made solid moves during the effort to reinforce a defense which seemed gutted early in the offseason. He’s not wrong, as the likes of Elvis Dumervil and Chris Canty will make opposing quarterbacks so very afraid. But there’s still the matter of replacing two starting safeties.

Don’t worry, though, because the Ravens didn’t even want one of them.