From prison, two fans root for No. 88

"It's like I'm in the stadium when I'm watching," Minnie Pearl said. "I go there. I'm not there, but I take myself there. I visualize. ... I don't have the words to explain it."

Just knowing that his mother and grandmother will be watching, Demaryius said Monday, inspires him to "try to go out and play my best because I always know they can talk about it to the people in the jailhouse." Smith said she had called him while he was attending Georgia Tech for the purpose of explaining everything that had gone down, for the purpose of apologizing and reconnecting and asking for forgiveness. This is why the good son now wants to play what he called "the game of his life."

But before he gets the chance to play his inspired brand of football against Sherman's Seahawks, Demaryius will get a phone call from his mother. She always calls on the morning of game day. She always tells him to find a way to stay healthy, and to not be too hard on himself if he makes a mistake. She always prays with him, too, sometimes quoting from Scripture.

The call this Sunday likely will be more emotional than most. It's the Super Bowl, after all, an event tailor-made for a loving parent.

"I won't be there in the stands," Smith said. "I won't be able to look at his face, to kiss him, to tell him how proud I am."

She'll stay warm on Super Bowl Sunday at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee instead, and it's a damn shame. Like her own mom, Katina Smith would much rather freeze on February's answer to Mother's Day at MetLife.

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