Summer 2024

Rookie QB Austin Reed signs as free agent with Bears, is 'nothing without my Lord and Savior'

New Bears quarterback Caleb Williams — the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s NFL draft out of USC — may be grabbing most of the headlines in Chicago, but he isn’t the only QB the team added to its roster in recent days. Hours after going undrafted on Saturday, former Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed signed with the Bears as a free agent, according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

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A native of St. Augustine Beach, Florida, Reed is now headed north to the Windy City, where he’ll be competing for a roster spot. Williams is the presumptive starting quarterback, with Tyson Bagent and Brett Rypien (both with four NFL starts each) also on the roster.

The 24-year-old Reed began his college career at Southern Illinois in 2018 before transferring to Division-II West Florida in 2019. That fall, he led the Argonauts to a 13-2 record and the D-II national championship in the program’s fourth year of existence.

Reed hit the transfer portal again following the 2021 season, this time landing back in Division I with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Reed led the nation in passing yards in 2022, throwing for 4,744 yards on 389 completions. Reed’s yards were followed that season by Michael Penix Jr. (No. 8 overall in the 2024 draft), new Bears teammate Williams, and Drake Maye (No. 3 overall).

Reed’s final collegiate season this past fall saw him pass for 3,340 yards in 12 games, opting out of the Famous Toastery Bowl. During his two years at WKU, Reed tossed 71 touchdowns with 22 interceptions and led the Hilltoppers to a 16-10 record as a starter.

In December, after declaring for the draft, Reed created an Instagram post to document his college football career.

“Thank you College Football,” Reed wrote in his caption. “Thank you for the highs and lows. Thank you for championships and losses. Thank you for memories and lessons.

“I thank God for it all because it has turned a boy into a man. I am fulfilled and more than thankful for my college career, every step of it was part of Gods master plan to prepare me. I look forward to what’s next in His plans for my life. Genesis 28:15


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Reed’s Instagram handle is “” and his bio reads in part, “I am nothing without Jesus.” Meanwhile in his X bio, Reed writes that “I am nothing without my savior Jesus Christ” and displays a photo of the Bible verse Acts 20:24.

It isn’t only on social media, however, that Reed demonstrates his faith in Christ; he displays it permanently on his body in the form of tattoos.

On the inside of his right forearm is the Greek word “tetelestai,” which is translated “it is finished.” Jesus uttered this in John 19:30 just before His atoning death on the cross. Reed also has a tattoo referencing God’s words in Revelation 22:13 on the outside of his right forearm, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

Meanwhile, on the outside of his left forearm he has a cross with the famous verse John 3:16 written inside it, all surrounded by a crown of thorns. Just below this tattoo is another that reads “Psalm 27:1.” The verse reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?”

Reed, who has also been known to wear a variety of faith-based wristbands while competing, joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast last August to discuss his faith in Christ as well as his accomplishments on the gridiron.

“I’m a strong believer in every single day that I wake up is a blessing, and everything that’s been given to me in this life was given to me by the Lord,” he said. “… I am nothing without my Lord and Savior.”

Reed explained that it was his parents who first introduced him to the Christian faith, but God has been at work in his heart to draw him ever closer to Himself.

“I feel very strongly about the fact that if you have a close relationship with God and are truly deep in prayer and you ask the Lord for direction, He will reveal to you what the plan that He has for your life is,” Reed said.


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Last week before the draft, Reed joined the “Up & Adams Show” to talk about his mindset on the precipice of his NFL career, and he made sure to mention his Heavenly Father.

“I trust in the Lord with a lot of things in my life,” Reed said, “and I really do believe He has called me to do this and there’s something bigger for me planned in the NFL. I believe one day I’ll be successful — I don’t know if it’ll be tomorrow, I don’t know if it’ll be a year from now, two, three years from now — but I know at some point it’ll come because I have that faith.”

>> Do you know Christ personally? Learn how you can commit your life to Him. <<

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