Rashied Davis is a valued member of the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.
NFL Former Player Rashied Davis
Exemplifies the Immense Power of the Human Spirit
Rashied Davis had to hit the floor to dodge bullets in his South Central L.A. home. His father was murdered by gang members at a McDonald’s when he was eight; he grew up around drugs, violence and poverty.
One of nine children raised by his mom and aunt, Rashied believes his background shaped him into the man he is. Growing up, he thought South Central L.A. was the whole world. “When I was a kid, all my idols were gang members. They sold drugs; they had everything that I thought I wanted. But I am here today because somewhere along the line I got some hope from somewhere and that hope, I feel, came from God,” he says.
From the seventh grade through high school he was bused to school in the San Fernando Valley. At first, he begged his mother to let him go to school in the neighborhood but she wouldn’t budge. This turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of his life.
“I will always be very grateful to mom for knowing what was best for me. I was bused from poverty to an upper- and upper-middle class community. This experience really helped me see that the world where I grew up wasn’t the entire world,” he said.
The turning point for Rashied came when he was 18. He had graduated but hadn’t gone to college and didn’t have a job. He was living with his cousin. He got depressed wondering where his life was going. One day, he was driving home with his cousin and a friend. He was so frustrated he started speeding. He drove so fast that he frightened his passengers.
When he got home he ran up the stairs into his bathroom, slammed the door shut and started crying. He said, “At that moment I started praying to God, and told Him ‘I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing but it isn’t this; just help me find out where I’m supposed to be.’ And at that moment, things started to change. I had to move back home, which I didn’t want to do. I had a lot of anger inside; the neighborhood wasn’t safe, I was angry with the local police, angry at my family. As I look back on it I know God was moving things around in my life.
“I started noticing God’s helping hand through my cousin. He had mentioned that we should sign up and play football at West Los Angeles Junior College.” Rashied had some reservations about trying out for football. He didn’t play in high school because he weighed only 140 pounds. But he signed up and also ran track to show the coaches he was serious. He worked out every day in the weight room. If he couldn’t get a ride he took the bus. He ended up starting in his freshman year.
Rashied felt like he was living a dream. He was astounded when he started getting letters from colleges stating they were interested in him. This helped Rashied develop a deep sense of pride. He began to realize that he could get a scholarship to a four-year university if he was good enough. Rashied said, “Thank God I wound up being good enough. So, that one weak moment in my cousin’s bathroom was instrumental in bringing me to where I am today.”
He was admitted to San Jose State University after two years at junior college. A wide receiver with an average of 19.6 yards per catch, he was moved to cornerback in his senior year. The Arena Football League took notice and the semester before graduating, Rashied signed with the San Jose SaberCats.
Rashied spent almost four years with the SaberCats. He broke franchise records as a return specialist, wide receiver and cornerback. Before the 2005 NFL season, the Chicago Bears signed Rashied as a cornerback but he was converted to wide receiver before the 2006 season. Rashied played for the Bears for five years and was picked up by the Detroit Lyons for the 2010 season. Rashied is grateful to be playing in the NFL but it does not define who he is. He says, “Football is what I do, it’s not who I am.”
He has an enormous drive to help underprivileged children succeed and he and his beloved wife, Dianna started a charitable organization called Rashied Davis Charities http://rashieddavischarities.org He said, “We focus on literacy and character education and we provide field trips for children in third and fourth grades. Our mission statement is to teach children how to overcome obstacles to success through inspiration, preparation and discipline.”
Rashied and Dianna also created Saturday Place http://saturdayplace.org. Saturday place is a division of Rashied Davis Charities. Saturday Place is an enrichment program for 3rd and 4th grade Chicago Public School students who are performing at least one year below grade level. It’s a once-a-week program comprised of activities quite different from the typical classroom. Their program provides support in reading, writing, math, social studies, and science—and has been proven to help students gain confidence and raise their grades in their regular classrooms.Saturday Place students are performing above average in reading and math as compared to students a full grade level ahead of them. In just three months, Saturday Place students showed significant increases in academic performance with an 81% increase in reading and a 39% increase in math.
Rashied has a genuine passion for supporting underprivileged children. He said, “I want to show and give these kids hope and say, I know you live in this area, but there’s a whole other world outside of here. You can pull yourself through with a lot of hard work, a lot of determination and a lot of faith.” He wants to show these kids that he comes from where they live, that he is the same person they are.
Rashied Davis is an exemplary role model and an Insightful Player® team member who will leave his imprint on this world for many generations to come. If everyone in the world adopted Rashied’s attitude then we would have peace on earth.
Instant replay of Rashied’s guiding principles:
- Push forward and take full responsibility for creating the kind of life you want.
- Make it a priority to find out what you really want to do in life
- Learn how to play every bad hand well regardless of your situation
- Never give up. Never listen to people who knock you down and tell you, you can’t. You matter, everybody matters.
- Don’t let your activities or profession define who you are. Football is what I do, it’s not who I am.
- Lean on God because He is always there and when you lean on God, you are never alone.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610.
©2009 Insightful Player, LLC
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