Six new players were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame over the weekend, two of which used the opportunity to glorify God. Now Hall of Famers Ed Reed and Kevin Mawae were not shy about who was responsible for their talent and the remarkable football careers that led them to the stage that night, Almighty God.
Safety Ed Reed, began his induction speech by reciting “the Athlete’s Prayer,” which reads:
“Lord, please clear my head of all distractions and my heart of burdens I may bear
So I may perform my very best knowing You will always be there
Please lift me up before the moment
So through Your eyes I may see
And have a clear understanding as the game unfolds before me
With great courage I will meet this challenge, as You would have me do
But keep me humble and remind me that my strength comes from knowing You
Then, when all eyes are on me at the end of this big game
I will turn their eyes to you, O Lord, and the glory of Your name”
This was far from the first time Reed had said those words in front of a crowd, as the NFL star was well known for reciting that prayer before stepping on the field every Sunday.
When he finished, Reed thanked God for bringing him this far and gave Him all the glory for his accomplishments, including making it into the Hall of Fame.
“Even now, the Good Lord, Almighty God, Creator of all things, all of us, He’s the reason why I’m here,” Reed said in his speech. “This little light of mine, I had to let it shine.”
A few minutes into his speech, Reed gave shoutouts to each of his coaches, singling out head coach of the Ravens John Harbaugh.
“Coach Harbs, my guy. That man there, he came in with a plan, and we executed coach. Iron sharpens iron,” he said, referencing Proverbs 27:17.
According to Sports Spectrum, “Reed appeared in 174 games over 12 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and New York Jets, leading the NFL in interceptions three times. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro selection, and a Super Bowl champion with the Ravens in 2012.”
Also, in the 2019 induction class was Kevin Mawae, who began his NFL career as a right guard, but went on to play center for 10 years.
Mawae was quick to credit God, opening up about his faith while on stage.
“I am a born again believer to the resurrection and blood of Jesus Christ, and I proudly and humbly recognize that without God’s grace and His blessings, I would not be here tonight,” he said only a minute into his speech.
Later in his speech, Mawae talked about the tragic death of his brother, John, who was killed in a car accident in May 1996. Just weeks after the accident, John’s wife found out she was pregnant.
“Those two moments changed my life, and the direction and purpose of my life forever,” Mawae shared. “With that extreme sorrow followed by great joy, my focus turned to faith as I learned of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and the purposeful living in His name. Whether it be through encouragement, wisdom or resources, I learned that God can use one person to change the lives of hundreds and even thousands.”
Mawae played 16 seasons in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans.
“My journey to football became a platform for the purpose of changing lives and sharing the Gospel. My biggest regret is that our brother John never got to see me play in the NFL and celebrate this night with us today,” Mawae added. “But I believe God has a special place in His sky boxes looking down on us right now. John is not here, but he’s never forgotten, and we love you.”
The 2019 class of inductees included players Kevin Mawae, Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, and Johnny Robinson, as well as Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt.