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New Orleans • Just as they did with the Utah Utes in the Sugar Bowl four years ago, Baltimore teammates Paul Kruger and David Reed will be wearing white jerseys when they return to the Superdome for Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII against San Francisco.
But the 49ers are staying in the hotel the Utes occupied, and another connection to that Sugar Bowl experience has gone away. The Ravens shelved their initial, NFL-assigned plan of using Tulane University as a practice site.
The Superdome will evoke Sugar Bowl memories for Kruger and Reed. "It was a special thing for Utah," said Kruger, a Ravens linebacker. "It's a great place to play such a big game."
Reed caught a touchdown pass against Alabama, extending Utah's lead in a 31-17 victory. Having been activated only in November following offseason knee surgery, Reed was on Baltimore's game-day roster for the AFC championship game and played on special teams. He expects to do the same Sunday.
Another star of the Sugar Bowl also came to New Orleans this week. During a recruiting trip for Utah, former quarterback Brian Johnson had dinner with ex-Ute teammate Alex Smith of the 49ers.
The Ravens left Tulane because they were dissatisfied with having to use a makeshift turf field while the school is building a new football facility, coach John Harbaugh said.
So they've shared the New Orleans Saints' headquarters with the 49ers, an arrangement made possible by the cooperation of Harbaugh's brother, Jim, San Francisco's coach.
"We needed to be on the grass," John Harbaugh said, citing the wearing effect of a turf field on his players at the end of a long season.
The Saints' facility also enables kickers to practice indoors, simulating the Superdome's conditions.
Samantha Gordon, the celebrated 9-year-old football star from Herriman, is attending the Super Bowl as a guest of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell she refers to him as "The Commish" in her blog for espnW.com.
She writes that she's cheering for the 49ers, fulfilling a promise she made to Jim Harbaugh after attending the team's practice in December. But she's also hoping for a strong performance from Salt Lake City's Haloti Ngata and a touchdown catch for BYU product Dennis Pitta of the Ravens.