Reggie Ragland puts his talents to use for community
WRITTEN BY BOB LABBE
Growing up in the immediate area of Madison and Huntsville, Reggie Ragland has always been a great athlete. In a sense, he has put together his life much like one of his favorite pastimes of connecting puzzles and word games.
From his formative years as a baseball, football and basketball player to today’s position as starting middle linebacker for the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs, the former Bob Jones High all-state athlete and University of Alabama All-American said he loves to assist his communities in the only way he knows how.
“Every time I have a chance to do things for the kids in the community, I do it,” said Ragland. “For me, it’s really all about the kids and helping others.”
Born in Florence in September 1993, Ragland moved to the Huntsville area, where he made a name for himself in recreational and middle school athletics, partaking in three sports. He was known to hit home runs of 400 feet and slam dunk a basketball with the ease of athletes much older.
He transferred to Bob Jones from Huntsville’s Grissom High for his freshman year of school. Once with the Patriots, he played all three sports, but it was football that seemed to see him excel to new heights above the rest. Ragland said those around him knew football would be the way to glory and financial success.
After making his way to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Ragland was part of two national championship teams and was named a consensus All-American at linebacker. He was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
After suffering a season-ending knee injury, he was traded to the Chiefs, where he signed a lucrative contract and is now among the top tacklers on defense for a team that is securing its place among possible Super Bowl contenders in the 2018 season.
When the 25-year old professional athlete is not running down ball carriers in front of thousands at the stadium and million more viewers on television, Ragland – who close friends call “T-Pac” – faces the real-life challenges of helping those in need, mostly children. He has delivered turkey dinners to families in need during the holiday season; participated in the Brady’s Kids Charity, which is headed up by New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady; and stayed late after games to sign autographs for those reaching out to the 6-foot-2, 252-pound ball carrier thumper.
“For me it’s really the kids, as I like giving them hope,” said Ragland. “I just talk to them and be around them, just to give them some type of hope in their lives and drive to be successful in their lives. For some of them, their living arrangements can be pretty bad, so for someone like me just to come around to give them some hope, that’s all worth it to me.”
The son of Reggie Ragland Sr. and Ann White, Ragland said he feels his life is good right now, and he’s happy where his life has taken him. He’s humbled for the opportunities he’s been presented and understands only a small fraction of football players have the chance to make it to the NFL and be part of a winning program.
“I’ve won a championship at just about every level I’ve played, so I think it is time to get one as a professional,” added Ragland.
Somehow during his busy professional schedule, he also finds time to visit home and family. When he’s at home in Kansas City, mere minutes from the Chiefs’ home office and stadium, Ragland said he thinks of his roots in Alabama and what he misses most – like “my momma’s cookin.’”