It takes a village to raise a kid and Ed Reed's village was located at Destrehan High School in Louisiana. (Kevin Richardson/The Baltimore Sun video)

'Just tell me what you need'

The atmosphere at Destrehan is welcoming. Students greet teachers and coaches warmly as they pass in the halls, and banners encouraging this year's Wildcats teams brighten every wall.

As cozy as it is, when Reed comes back, he tells the kids not to limit their horizons.

"They call us crabs in a bucket," he said. "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 what not, how tough it is in our city."

So when he talks to kids from his town, it's all about expanding their worlds. He wants them to see in themselves what Parquet and Hall helped him see in himself.

"We tend to want to stay here in Louisiana as Louisiana people," he said. "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."

A few summers ago, while he was home for his camp, Reed sidled up to Frontha and said, "Coach you never ask me for anything. … Just tell me what you need."

Hall followed up a few weeks later, and Frontha allowed that he'd like to take his athletes to Dollywood while they were in Tennessee for a track meet. Two days later, he had a check in his hand from Reed to cover the trip expenses for 45 kids and their parents.

Super Bowl, here we come

Karen Reed made the trip to Foxborough, Mass., last year to watch the Ravens in the AFC championship. She felt the pain first-hand as Billy Cundiff's kick sailed outside the upright and her son fell a step short.

So for the rematch, she stayed in Saint Rose and busied herself with other tasks, only staring at the game out the corner of her eye. As the seconds ticked down and the Ravens' win seemed secure, she asked herself, "Lord, is this really for real?"

"She TiVoed it," said her daughter-in-law, JaVona Sanchez, who's married to Ed's eldest brother. "And she's just been watching it over and over."

Now, Karen is knee deep in grandsons, all counting down the seconds until they get to watch Uncle Ed play the biggest game of his life, right down the road. Every time Sanchez's little boy, Winston, got in the car this week, he asked "Are we going to the Super Bowl?"

They are.