Updated: May 21
Retired Wide Receiver, Philanthropist and
High School Football Coach
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.
Rashied with the Saturday Place students and their siblings at the Rashied Davis 2010 Holiday Party.
“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.”
Rashied and the students at the first day of Saturday Place at the British School of Chicago.
He has an enormous drive to help underprivileged children succeed. He and his beloved wife, Dianna, established Saturday Place (https://www.saturdayplace.org) in 2010. Saturday Place helps children learn to see beyond their existing circumstances, acquire the knowledge and academic skills necessary for success and understand their obligation to self and others. 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 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. These are your current circumstances, but you don’t have to live in those circumstances your whole life. You can pull yourself through with a lot of hard work, a lot of determination and a little faith. As the Bible says, we only need faith the size of a mustard seed." He wants to show these kids that he comes from where they live, that he is the same person they are.
Rashied has also volunteered for Biblica, an International Bible Society. He visited Reach4Life students in South Africa and he also visited children in India. He shared with the children how the Bible had a positive impact on his life and gave him hope when he needed it most.
Rashied really enjoys being a wide Receiver Coach for a Chicagoland High School. He said, "Coaching gives me a unique platform to share with kids of all backgrounds, the tools, gifts, insights, and love that I have enjoyed as an athlete. I get the opportunity to help draw out of kids all the God has put into them. "
Rashied has begun a career as a a real estate investor, and agent with eXp Realty. He assist his clients in achieving all of their real estate dreams.
Rashied is married to Dianna, his college sweetheart. They have a beautiful marriage, and they are the proud parents of two precious children.
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.
Rashied Davis with The Total Tutor
– Powered by The Insightful Player
Click HERE to listen to an interview with Rashied Davis. Or copy and paste this into your web browser: http://5a5bfd1e9de31d22e342-8cf8ad7127dc6cf7079675e2131509c3.r7.cf1.rackcdn.com/rashied-davis.mp3
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified and Board 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. Insightful Player® was created to transform culture to be more inclusive, kinder, and more loving by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call her landline 603-897-0610.
©2009 and 2021 Insightful Player, LLC
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.