- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ravens safety Ed Reed is going to the first Super Bowl of his 11-year NFL career. It's more special to Reed that he will be playing the biggest game of his life near his hometown.
Reed grew up in St. Rose, La., which is about 17 miles away from the Superdome.
"It's just awesome right now," Reed said. "A great feeling. It's amazing to be going back to New Orleans. I'm so grateful. To go to the Crescent City, here we come, baby."
Reed, 34, holds an annual football camp at his old high school but he hasn't played in New Orleans since October 2006, when the city was still rebuilding a year after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Could Reed decide to retire after this storybook finish? He's contemplated retirement over the past few offseasons, but he said this year that he thinks he can play four to five more years.
A better question is whether Reed's homecoming will be his farewell from the Ravens. Reed is an unrestricted free agent in March.
Right now, a jubilant Reed is just embracing the moment. It's taken him 14 postseason games and three trips to the AFC Championship Game to get over the hump.
"I really don't have any words for it," Reed said. "I rushed into the locker room to call my mom because I know that my family has been going through some things. So I'm just thankful to be going home to New Orleans for the whole of New Orleans to see some hometown guys. (New Orleans native) Jacoby Jones, we talked about it. We're just grateful."