When a fan has an opportunity to meet a future Hall of Fame player they’ve always admired, it’s a moment they’ll never forget.
Fans who packed the gymnasium last night at Northeast High School in Pasadena, Md. to meet Ravens safety Ed Reed had one of those moments.
Now, before we get to the exciting part of the story, let me clue you in a little bit on player appearances and autograph signings.
For those who are unaware, Sunday isn’t the only day NFL players go to work. Typically, players are at the practice facility around 7:30 AM until 5 PM Monday through Friday. When they’re not at the facility, they’re usually home on their iPads, game-planning for the upcoming game. Tuesday’s are generally their only day off, and many players choose to spend it in the community, whether with their own charitable activities or helping a teammate with theirs.
The other times players interact with fans are for meet and greets, autograph signings, and radio shows. These types of events all cost money.
Many autograph events charge an admission to get in the door. As for free public radio shows where fans can meet players, rest assured that the bill for that player’s time is being paid by a sponsor in some way, shape, or form.
Now that the picture has been painted, let’s get back to the story.
For anyone who has tried to get Reed’s autograph before, they’ll know that his signings are few and far between. Last night, the demand for Reed’s autograph was enough to fill the gymnasium at Northeast High School even at $100 per ticket.
Billy Smith, a Ravens fan from Pasadena and former alumni from the school, was one of the fans waiting in line to get a custom picture signed – then he heard an unexpected announcement.
“Someone came over the speakers and said that Reed would like to refund $75 to everyone and the other $25 would go to Northeast High School,” Smith said.
The kind gesture is the second in as many days. On Sunday, Reed could possibly have ran out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium for the last time during his Hall of Fame career, but gave all the attention to his entrance through the tunnel to his teammate, Ray Lewis.
What makes the refund and donation even more impressive is the fact that Reed is often paid tens of thousands of dollars for his limited appearances. It’s unclear what the deal was between the school, Reed, and Man Cave (the host of the event) but regardless, it’s a great gesture.
Sure, people will say Reed doesn’t need the money – he only made $7.2 million this season. However, tens of thousands of dollars is a lot of money to anyone, especially someone who has been fined over $100,000 this season for simply playing football, being made an example of by the NFL during their supposed focus on improved player safety.
During a time where Reed lost his off day and has to begin planning on a short week to face one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, Reed was party to a very nice gesture that gave back to fans who have cheered him since he started in the league 11 years ago.
Maybe the new chant they should use is “Reeeeeeeeeee-fund?”