Hurricane Katrina hits home for Ed Reed

OWINGS MILLS – As Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast with its wide path of destruction across Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, it was a personal blow for Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. Reed is from the New Orleans suburb of St. Rose, La., and has family in Mississippi.

 The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year watched The Weather Channel between practices Monday. He observed the flooding, 145 mph winds and displaced New Orleans residents huddled in a damaged Superdome with an especially heavy heart.

"My prayers go out to everybody back home because I know unfortunately that Louisiana is a very low poverty and a lot of people can't afford to get out of the city," Reed said. "Your heart goes out to them. You just hope that everybody has got shelter and can just get out of the storm and no one loses family to the storm."

Reed was just back in his hometown to have his high school jersey retired prior to Friday's 21-6 preseason win over the New Orleans Saints.

He's one of three Louisiana players on the Ravens' roster along with fullback Alan Ricard (Amite) and return specialist B.J. Sams (Mandeville).

"Even when it hit Florida, I've got people down there, family down there that you care about and you want to make sure are all right," Reed said. "Being away from home, it makes it hard but at the same time it's a blessing that I can be here and my family can get away."

Since the Ravens were just in New Orleans days ago literally during the calm before the storm, the severe weather of a former Category 4 storm that washed sailboats onto highways and flooded casinos gave the team pause.

"It's hard to imagine having been down there that even then there didn't seem to be any sense of this pending," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Everyone kind of seemed like, ‘Oh yeah, we might get hit with a little something here.' How quickly it came up is what is so surprising having been down there not long ago."

Wide receiver Randy Hymes attended Grambling (La.). He's from Hitchcock, Texas, which is near Galveston close to the Gulf of Mexico. The power is out at his offseason home.

"A lot of people are losing their families," Hymes said. "All you can do is pray and hope that it's over quickly."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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