Former NFL player Ed Reed who played for the University of Miami and majority of his career with the Baltimore Ravens, might just be what America needs right now. Reed, who was inducted to the FNL Hall of Fame Saturday night gave an almost forty-minute speech that rivals some of the world’s greatest leaders, but past and present.

Ed Reed opened with a prayer he says he used to read before every football game, even in high school and college. He thanked God and said the almighty is the reason “why he is here.” He then went on to devote gratitude to our troops. “Thanks to all of those who fought and marched for this great country of ours. Without them, this kid from New Orleans wouldn’t make it.” He thanked fans for “making it fun for us” and said the NFL changed his life.

He painted a picture of the conditions he grew up in, living in one bedroom apartments with his brothers and urged kids to “make sure you have the right people around you,” that you have to surround yourself with those who will support you. “I made a choice not to hang around people selling drugs, I made a choice not to hang around people who didn’t go to school” because he had a goal he wanted to achieve; to go to college.

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Reed mentioned an experience he had with a cop in his neighborhood growing up. The clip was posted by a pro-law enforcement Instagram page, @911strong. Reed’s incredible speech in its entirety is linked below, but his discussion of cops in a neighborhood like his is the kind of story our country is hungry to hear and spread:

I had to grow up fast y’all I had to mature real fast because of my environment, crime infested, drugs, police, and it wasn’t always bad police like people think…there was this one police officer that was in my neighborhood…We was always taught to run from the police and dodge the police officers. And I remember this one time I was yelling back to my cousins cause one of them was selling drugs or something, that the police was coming. And the police officer heard me. And he called me to his car and said come here young man, get in the backseat.

I lost it y’all. He said ‘where do you live?’ I said around the corner…and he was like ‘I’m taking you home. I was like ‘oh my god don’t do that. Take me to jail, cause my momma’s home’ ((laughs from the audience)).

I can remember him saying ‘son I know you, I see you around here playing sports so you don’t need to be playing here hanging with those other guys because you have something.’ So I will say to the point of what we have going on in our society, don’t aggravate, or should I say, push an officer to have to do something they shouldn’t have to do ((audience applause)).

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We all are human beings. Just make it home…just take that slap on the wrist and get arrested.

 

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WATCH ED REED’S FULL HALL OF FAME SPEECH