Kansas City, Mo. — — Ed Reed cracked a wide smile as he listened to running back Willis McGahee, whose locker neighbored Reed's in the visiting locker room at Arrowhead Stadium, recount to the media his 25-yard touchdown dash through the heart of the defense that cemented the Ravens' 30-7 thrashing of the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC wild-card playoff game Sunday.
Moments later, when it was Reed's turn to talk to reporters huddled around his locker, the mood was discernibly sadder.
It was the first time Reed had spoken publicly since news emerged late Friday that his younger brother had gone missing in Louisiana after jumping into the Mississippi River while eluding police.
Still, Reed played against the Chiefs, harassing quarterback Matt Cassel into a 20.4 passer rating and helping to hold Pro Bowl wide receiver Dwayne Bowe without a catch.
"Just focused on the game," Reed said when asked how he played despite the personal tragedy. "Just tried to do my part, like always. Keep focus and just do my job. No different than any other day."
As of late Sunday, authorities near St. Rose, La. — Reed's hometown — had yet to find Brian Reed, 29, who — according to his mother, Karen Reed — has had a troubled history with drugs and alcohol.
Police said Brian Reed was trying to escape officers who thought they had stopped a stolen car, but the family said Reed was driving one of his brother's cars. His mother said authorities had found her son's jacket and shoes.
There was some question whether the seven-time Pro Bowl safety would even make the trip with the team to Kansas City on Saturday, but Ed Reed said he didn't contemplate sitting out the game.
"Not at all. It's my job," he said. "I know at the end of the day, it's all going to work out. It's in God's hands. There's a bigger picture — bigger than us."
Reed acknowledged that he has been leaning on his family for updates and support.
"My family kept me focused," he said. "My older brother called me and just told me: 'Do what you do. Handle your business. We'll take care of everything over here.' So like, I said, it was a matter of being focused, being around my second family, and then doing my job."
McGahee, one of Reed's closest friends as both played at the University of Miami, said that less than 24 hours after receiving news of his brother, Reed was one of the first players at Saturday's walkthrough at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills.
"He's been going through a lot, but he stayed focused and he didn't let anybody really know that he was really down," McGahee said. "Deep down inside, he was, but he managed to put it behind him for this game. I guess when you're on the football field, you don't really have anything to worry about until the game is over."
Strong safety Dawan Landry said Reed's approach to Sunday's contest did not differ from his attitude before the previous 10 regular-season games.
"Coming into the game, he was the same Ed," Landry said. "You would never have thought that anything had happened. I think that made us stronger as a unit, knowing that he was there for us. We played for him today."
Reed has shouldered his burden, but he's not alone. Teammates have shared in his pain.
"We circled around him," defensive end Cory Redding said. "We consoled him and let him know that we were going to do everything we could. We had his back, and we let him know, 'When you hurt, we hurt.' "
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said the Ravens wanted to give Reed a reason to think about something other than his personal tragedy.
"It was the simple fact that we wanted to give him three hours of peace," Suggs said. "Let's go out there and have fun with your football brothers, and we started doing that. … It definitely was an emotional win for him and the rest of us, too. We really wanted to play for him and have fun with him, just kind of give him peace, put his mind at ease for a little bit."
After Sunday's win, the team gave a game ball to Reed, who, in turn, dedicated it to his family. Ravens coach John Harbaugh described the scene as emotional and touching.
"That was for his brother," Harbaugh said. "Our prayers are still with his brother for his safety, and may God hold him in the palm of His hand."
Reed said he wasn't sure whether he would return to Louisiana to be with his family and assist in the search. An AFC divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday looms, but football is a welcomed outlet at this point for Reed.
"This is, like I said, a child's game that we play," he said. "It's not tough to focus on this. Being around these guys helped me stay focused and going forward in life, knowing that God has got everything. I'm not worried, and I wasn't worried about football. That's the least of my worries."