Qadir Ismail, son of Super Bowl champ Qadry, signs with Ravens

0
15


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When Qadir Ismail was about 9 years old, he was walking through the halls of the Baltimore Ravens‘ training facility in search of chewing gum with his sister, brother and father. Qadir was there because his father, Qadry, a member of the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl championship team, was hosting an evening radio show from the facility.

When Qadir and his siblings turned the corner, they ran into Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Qadry initially thought they might be in trouble for venturing outside the radio studio. Instead, Harbaugh asked them, “Do you want to run around the field of the indoor facility?” Harbaugh looked over at Qadry and gave him a wink.

Nearly 15 years later, Qadir Ismail will be running those same fields — but now as a member of the team. On Monday, Baltimore signed Qadir, an undrafted rookie wide receiver from Samford, to its 90-player roster.

“I’m choking up now,” Qadry Ismail said in a phone interview with ESPN. “I’m having a hard time with it in a way — in a very good way. It’s just fun. It really is. It’s a cool thing.”

Qadry was the No. 1 wide receiver on the Ravens’ first Super Bowl team. A 1,000-yard receiver in two of his three seasons in Baltimore, he was known for racing past cornerbacks for big plays downfield and coming up clutch on third downs.

Qadir is a converted quarterback from Villanova who played two seasons at wide receiver for Samford. He was signed two weeks after getting an invitation to Baltimore’s rookie minicamp.

Qadry started crying when he saw pictures of his son wearing the same uniform as him earlier this month.

“I’m not speechless, but as a dad, obviously, it takes on a whole different meaning,” Qadry said. “I’m so proud of him and so excited that he gets to wear purple.”

A high school quarterback in the Baltimore area, Qadir changed positions at Villanova after the team switched offensive coordinators. He eventually transferred and totaled 16 receptions for 156 yards in two seasons at Samford. His final year was derailed by a thumb injury just before the start of the season.

“Overall, the art of playing receiver, I would say his growth level and his ability to just absorb the information has been phenomenal,” Qadry said.

After Qadir’s pro day, he was contacted by two Ravens officials, director of college scouting David Blackburn and player personnel assistant Darrius Heyward-Bey. They brought him to Maryland for two additional workouts.

Blackburn told Qadry that he didn’t know what the draft held for Qadir, but he felt that he would fit into the team’s culture as a person.

“I had some other calls from other teams,” Qadry said. “But when David said that, I was like, ‘Yep, this is what it is to talk about being a Raven.'”

Qadir is the second player on the Ravens who is a son of a member of the 2000 Super Bowl team. Keaton Mitchell, who showed explosiveness as a rookie last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, is the son of Anthony Mitchell, a backup safety and standout special teams player on that championship team.

When Mitchell ran for 138 yards and scored a touchdown in a Week 9 win over Seattle, Qadry watched from the press box as an analyst for a local television station. After the game, Qadry took a video of Mitchell’s post-game interview.

“I’m sending it over to Anthony, and I literally had to have a moment,” Qadry said. “I was crying up a storm. So it just hits different.”

Qadry now gets to experience watching his son try to make the Ravens. Qadir is considered a long shot to make the 53-man roster because Baltimore is likely set with five wide receivers in Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Devontez Walker and Deonte Harty. But Qadir, who is 6-foot-6, brings more size than anyone else.

Qadir told his father that it’s OK if Qadry attends an offseason practice to watch him. The Ravens are holding a reunion at minicamp next month, and Qadry expects to be there.

“I’ll probably be over in the corner sitting there sweating bullets,” Qadry said, “watching practice more intensely than hanging out with some of my former teammates.”



Source : ESPN