“Two tickets to paradise!” Reed shouted, mimicking the Geico commercial and famous Eddie Money song.
New Orleans might as well be paradise to the 34-year-old safety.
Reed was born just 30 minutes outside of New Orleans in St. Rose, La., and still has deep roots there. Now he’ll play his first Super Bowl at home.
“It’s amazing to be going back to New Orleans,” Reed said. “I’m so grateful. To go to the Crescent City … here we come, baby!”
Reed’s family still lives in Louisiana, and he called his mother immediately after the game. Reed said his family has been “going through some things.”
His brother, Brian Reed, died just more than two years ago when he jumped into the Mississippi River to reportedly avoid police. He jumped in just minutes from where Reed was born.
“You’re going to bring me to tears; I just lost my brother two years ago,” Reed said to reporters Sunday before going into many other inspirational points from the Ravens’ season.
Reed still holds an annual football camp at his old high school, Destrehan, just outside of the city. But he hasn't played in New Orleans since October 2006, when the city was still rebuilding a year after Hurricane Katrina hit. The Ravens won that game, 35-22.
Reed has been playing for 11 seasons. He’s dealt with a number of health issues, from an impingement in his neck, hip surgery and this year a nagging shoulder injury.
He talked about retiring after the 2009 season, then again a year later. But Reed kept coming back to the Ravens, kept patrolling the secondary.
He has 61 career interceptions and an NFL-record 1,541 return yards off those picks. Reed’s a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer.
But the usually cool-headed Reed was never as emotional as he was Sunday in New England. He’s going home.
“It’s just special, man. Honestly, man,” Reed said. “God is truly amazing for what he has taken us through. It’s just amazing, man. It’s just amazing.”