"I've never wanted to do interviews so bad in my life," Reed said at Super Bowl XLVII Media Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday.
"Knowing that my family has been through some things, losing my brother, to come home and wake up, look at that Mississippi River to start my day, I'm just thankful, man. ... It's so much bigger than football. I'm just so happy to be here, so happy," Reed said.
Watching Reed bask in the moment Tuesday, I couldn't help but be so happy for him, too. Reed is an all-time great, a former defensive MVP and a future Hall of Famer that the public doesn't know that much about. He's a wildly sharp, funny, offbeat guy. His easy charm drips with his New Orleans background. And he's not afraid to reflect on his journey.
"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," Reed said.
Here's my quick list of the other folks that are cool to see on the big stage, with Reed ranking first:
3. Frank Gore: He's been one of my favorite players to watch for nearly a decade because of his complete game. For awhile, it looked like the 49ers' running back would be stuck on losing teams for his whole career until coach Jim Harbaugh saved him. Plus, Gore has great taste in restaurants: I saw him Monday night at Jacques-Imos with Moss.
5. Anquan Boldin: The Ravens receiver says he's a "completely different guy" than the last time he made the Super Bowl. Boldin started his career as one of the best after-catch receivers in football. Now, he's one of the best at grabbing contested passes out of the air. The common thread of those two skills: toughness.
6. Patrick Willis: He's the prototypical modern linebacker because of his coverage skills and complete game. In a game with a lot of potential legends, it wouldn't surprise me if Willis authors the most legendary performance.