Ed Reed says it's pointless to say whether he is retiring after the… (Patrick Semansky / Associated…)
NEW ORLEANS — Ray Lewis already has said this is his final NFL season, but could another Baltimore Ravens defensive star be riding into the sunset too?
"That question was asked a couple days back, just about this being my last ride," said All-Pro safety Ed Reed, 34, who has flirted before with the notion of retiring. "I'm not focused on that right now. It's pointless to answer at the moment."
Reed, whose team arrived in New Orleans on Monday evening, said he prefers to keep the focus on the team and the final go-round for Lewis.
"Ray told me months ago that this probably was it," he said. "So I had that focus coming in that we can hopefully get here, and here we are. It just so happened that Ray made that announcement so the team knows also.
"Of course we want to send him off the right way. And I'm not about to say this is my last game and have everybody join in with that.
"But if that's what it takes to get the guys pumped though."
San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis wears No. 52, and though that's more happenstance than an homage to Lewis, who wears the same number, Willis does show the Ravens star another type of respect.
"I call him Mufasa, from the movie the 'Lion King,' " Willis said. "By no means am I calling him a king. I'm just calling him a king in this game and what it's about and what he's been able to do at the linebacker position. He holds that. He holds that crown for the way to play the middle linebacker position and the way it's been played for a long time. That's why I call him Mufasa."
Gone to Carolina
Even though the 49ers haven't been to the Super Bowl in 18 years, the guy who touches the football first for them has a Super Bowl ring.
Center Jonathan Goodwin hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as a member of the New Orleans Saints three years ago. He keeps that diamond-encrusted ring locked up in his home state.
"Last year when I first got to San Francisco a couple of guys got to see it but it has been in South Carolina," Goodwin said. "Hopefully, I can pull it out with another ring in a couple of months. It's something I take a lot of pride in but at the same time it feels weird being on another team with another team's logo on it."
For their trip to New Orleans, the 49ers flew in a bigger plane than they typically do.
Left tackle Joe Staley was impressed, calling it "huge" and taking special note of its fully reclining seats.
His favorite memory from the flight?
"I got to watch 'How to Make It in America,' " he said. "It was a canceled show on HBO, which I really, really enjoy."
What's more, he caught a 10-minute nap.
"It was fantastic," he said.
The 49ers have 15 first-round picks on their roster, nine of whom were drafted by the club. The Ravens, by comparison, have eight first-round selections, all but one of whom they drafted.
"You can't have a bunch of great guys who stink at football and win games," said Staley, a first-round pick in 2007. "Obviously, you have to have a lot of talented players. You have to have the right kind of talented players. You look for that combination and we found a great combo with a lot of the players. I think sometimes you want to have some characters. I think it keeps it interesting."