SAFETY ED REED
(on what he thinks about when preparing for a game like this) “I think back to ’97 when I came to Media Day. It was Green Bay and New England in the Super Bowl. I was just a teenager, so to experience this for myself now alive and in color, it’s a blessing. I’m just thankful and grateful to be here.”
(on how his time at the University of Miami prepared him for this game) “Just how we worked, our work ethic, being around great people. Curtis Johnson, who recruited me. Chuck Pagano, Butch Davis, Coach (Don) Solinger. I could name the whole coaching staff who was there at the time. Andreu Swasey, who has been my strength coach, like a brother to me for many years, who has helped me to just have the right mentality to be a great leader and have a great work ethic.”
(on if he reflects on what it has taken to get his career to this point) “Yes. When you get to this point in your career and you get to the Super Bowl, everything comes up, especially coming home. I’ve thought about the walks to practice by myself, at night, walking home from practice carrying my pads, with my dad’s work shirt over my shoulder pads. Missing football for a year, all those things come up. Everything really gets put into perspective when you get to this point and you’re just really appreciative of the people that help you get here. You just think about everything.”
(on how emotional it is to be able to play in the Super Bowl in his hometown) “Very emotional. It was very emotional when we won in New England. I just was all tears, tears of joy. I cried like a baby. I really did. We’ve just worked so hard as a team to get to this point, and I know 30 other teams work to get to this point, too, and us and San Fran made it. There’s just so much I can say about it, I’m just speechless. It really hits you in the heart because this is the highest point that you can get to in football, for what we’ve come from. In little league, dreaming and watching those Super Bowl teams. I watched New Orleans for a long time and I watched San Fran for a long time. Just to watch those championship teams, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and John Taylor and (Tom) Rathman and Ronnie Lott. To see Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright and those guys in Vegas with the DBs in the offseason, it’s just amazing.”
(on how often he’s been back to New Orleans) “I come back as often as possible. I have my son, so I have to take care of him, he’s priority. But I get back every offseason.”
(on Ray Lewis wanting to end his career under a showering of confetti) “Ray told that story so many times, and that’s what we’re here to fight for. That’s what we’re here to battle for, and I know it’s going to be a great game.”
(on if he plans to come back next year) “I didn’t say I was definitely coming back, but I’m planning on it. I’ll assess those things after this game. I’m just soaking all this in right now. I’m not thinking about next year. Usually, I’m thinking about next year right now because I’m not in this game. I’m so far away from tomorrow, honestly. I’m just thinking about right now, today, just soaking all this up.
(on what his relationship is like with Frank Gore) “Frank Gore knows how I feel about him. He knows he’s my boy. He knows that I always thought he’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen. I have a lot of respect for Frank. He’s like a brother to me. I’m so happy for him. I sent the text out, but I think he changed his number, to him just to congratulate him, because I know what he’s been through. I know his story. I know his family back in Florida when we spent time together. I’m just so happy for that guy, for where he’s come from. He definitely deserves to be here with his team.”
(on if Colin Kaepernick presents a new breed of quarterbacks) “I wouldn’t call it a new breed of quarterbacks. We’ve seen guys like Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick. When Michael Vick came into the league, everyone said it was a new breed. Guys have been scrambling, running quarterbacks before, and I’m sure Kaepernick is saying the same thing. He definitely is a problem on the field because he’s a good quarterback and a good athlete, good player. He definitely poses a problem.
(on how playing against Robert Griffin III earlier this year will help prepare the Ravens for Kaepernick) “First off, we’re on a better field. For all that money down in D.C., you’d think their field would be better. That field sucks. It does, it was all mud. It was like (Griffin) was running on water. It definitely helped us out a little bit, but with the weapons that San Francisco has, it will be a little bit different of a challenge.”
(on if there was any rallying cry for the Ravens during this postseason run) “It was just ‘stay focused.’ It was really Philippians 4:13 that carried us. I’ve never seen a presence of our father like I have around this team, making this journey. I sound a little bit off the wall with it, but it’s the truth. God has just been amazing. I know a lot of people are making fun of Ray (Lewis) about how he’s talking and how he’s on camera, really emotional. It’s the truth. He’s a very spiritual person, and it’s just been real. Many of us don’t see that or have that gift when it comes to spirituality. So, to be part of it and know that God is moving things, it’s impressive.
(on his relationship with defensive backs coach Teryl Austin) “T.A. has been one of the guys. He’s really let us be who we are, and I’ve been right there with him the whole time, communicating with him, and he lets me know a lot of things to where I can talk to players a different way and I can give him information about what’s going on with us, too. It’s been very helpful on both sides, being that I knew the guys. But T.A., he’s really detailed and really has helped us to understand our opponents week to week.”
(on where he thinks he stacks up among safeties all-time) “I’m just another safety who played in this league. A lot of great athletes have played this game around a lot of really great talent. I don’t think you can pick out one player who is the best of all of us who played this game, because none of us could do it without the other 10 guys, so I’m just another guy.”
(on if he wondered if he could ever win another title after this year) “No. Deion (Sanders) just put it in perspective walking out here. He won two and he thought he was going to go back, and he didn’t. This is it right here. This is the only Super Bowl that’s going on this year, right now, that matters.”
(on how important it is to give back to his community) “It’s very important for me to give back to my state, because this is where I’m from. You have to start at home first, give back to the people that really supported you, and support me now. I have a lot of fans here, a lot of people that are just like, ‘Hey, I’m just happy that you made it. I’m just happy that you’re here. And those are just random people who are from New Orleans. So to represent New Orleans, I’m just grateful for it, to represent home. To give back to these kids and try to get kids to go to college, to get away from home, to see something different, open their minds to something different. We tend to want to stay here in Louisiana as Louisiana people. We don’t want to get away as much. We love our city. We’ve just got to be mindful that there are other things out there, and we really need to open our kids’ minds to get them to go to college. Get them to get away. Then come back and help the next ones behind us. They call us crabs in a bucket. We tend to want to pull each other down. You can say that about anywhere, but they really say it about here, being in Louisiana and whatnot, how tough it is in our city. We have a lot to give and we have a lot of athletes here. A lot of guys from Louisiana have foundations, Reggie Wayne and other guys, who have made it to the league. We have a lot of guys from Louisiana. Our rivalry team, Pittsburgh, with Mike Wallace and guys. We have a lot of guys across the league who really give back to their schools.
(on how his Christian faith has affected him in football and life) “It’s everything. It’s number one. We’re all connected, no matter what your religion is, we’re all connected. We all know there’s a higher power that takes care of all of us. No matter your race, your creed, we do things different, but we’re one.”