Ed Reed’s Ravens teammates awarded him the game ball after their playoff win Sunday, then Baltimore’s Pro Bowl safety boarded a private jet to return home to his family.
Reed said the gesture was one of many examples of the support the franchise has given him since his younger brother went missing in Louisiana two days ago.
Reed, who had four tackles in Baltimore’s 30-7 AFC wild-card win over Kansas City, said family members and teammates helped him keep his mind on his job as questions remain about his brother, 29-year-old Brian Reed.
“My older brother called me and told me, ‘Do what you do.’ You handle your business; we’ll take care of everything over here,” Reed said.
Brian Reed has been missing since Friday, when he apparently jumped into the Mississippi River after being confronted by a deputy sheriff in response to a report of a stolen car.
Karen Reed, the mother of Ed and Brian Reed, said investigators found her son’s shoes and jacket. She said the car the man ran from belonged to another brother.
Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said authorities were unable to identify the man who jumped in the river. Authorities called off the search for him.
Reed said situations like his brother’s disappearance were reminders that there were more important things in life than playing football.
“It’s a child’s game we play,” Reed said. “It’s not tough to focus on this stuff. Being around these guys helped me stay focused and going forward in life knowing God has got everything. I’m not worried about football. That’s the least of my worries.”
Asomugha’s contract void
The final year in Nnamdi Asomugha’s record contract with the Oakland Raiders is no longer in force because the Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t reach certain incentives.
Raiders senior executive John Herrera confirmed Sunday that the contract was voided, making Asomugha a free agent. ESPN first reported the development.
Asomugha signed a $45.3 million, three-year contract in February 2009 that made him the highest paid defensive back in NFL history.
Asomugha’s contract had a clause that said his contract would be voided if he didn’t participate in more plays in 2010 than the previous year or improve his interception, fumble recovery or sack totals.
Asomugha missed two games with a sprained ankle and did not reach the playing time incentive.
Faulk, Sanders among finalists
Running backs Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk and cornerback Deion Sanders are among 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2011.
Martin, Bettis and Faulk are among the NFL’s top 10 leading rushers, and are eligible for the first time, as is Sanders and offensive tackle Willie Roaf.
The other finalists announced are receivers Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Cris Carter, offensive lineman Dermontti Dawson, defensive linemen Richard Dent, Cortez Kennedy, Charles Haley and Chris Doleman, and tight end Shannon Sharpe, along with NFL filmmaker Ed Sabol.
Browns like Shurmur
The ties between St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and the Browns’ front office can’t be underestimated.
Several NFL executives have reportedly taken notice and identified those connections as potential deciding factors in the Browns’ coaching search. On Sunday NFL Countdown, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said many league executives believe Shurmur might be the favorite to replace coach Eric Mangini, who was fired Jan. 3. The Browns formally interviewed Shurmur, 45, Friday at their headquarters in Berea, Ohio. They also interviewed Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, 49, Saturday in the Atlanta area. A league source said the Browns have an interview set up with New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, 48, sometime this week.
Wild-card ratings way up
The playoffs’ first two games set a slew of milestones for NFL television ratings.
The Seattle Seahawks’ 41-36 upset of the New Orleans Saints on NBC earned the highest preliminary rating for the early Saturday wild-card game in two decades.
The network said Sunday the two-game average of 19.4/33 was the best on Saturday since the 1994 season for the Lions-Packers and Chiefs-Dolphins games.