Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh on ‘God Being in the Driver’s Seat’ and the ‘Critical’ Habit of Spending Time with Him (Gospel Light Minute #157)

John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh

He is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Before that, he coached the defensive backs for the Philadelphia Eagles and served as the Eagles special teams coach for nine years. While leading the Ravens to 71 wins since 2008, he is considered one of the best head coaches currently in the NFL. His 9 playoff wins are the most by any head coach in the NFL since 2008. He led the Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans in 2013.

In an article for BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith: “I had always been more fascinated by church history than the Bible itself. When I arrived at Miami University (Ohio) as a freshman defensive back, two teammates invited me to a Bible study. I was intrigued by the Bible’s logic. Things started clicking about God, the universe, sin and Christ’s death on the cross. Before long, I surrendered myself to Christ. I remember walking home thinking, ‘If I fall on the ground and die right now, I’m right with God.’ I felt a real freedom.”

He went on to say, “My Christian faith brings me peace. It brings a certain peace that surpasses all understanding. I think if you have that, it gives you a chance to accomplish whatever it is you are supposed to accomplish. I think it’s critical to make time for God; it’s a way to honor and praise God. You just humble yourself before God and let Him know that these things that we do are for Him. The biggest thing I’ve learned faith-wise is that God is in the driver’s seat. That is what faith is. It’s the belief in the things that are unseen. It’s a certain trust in life and in God, our Creator.”

“More than anything else, I want God to stay close to me so I don’t get caught up in myself and basically embarrass myself. I used to pray for other reasons, and every now and then I’d pray for a turnover. But that’s selfish behavior. When you make yourself small and raise up the other people around you, that’s the Christian message.”

His name is John Harbaugh.

Mike Brown says his Relationship With God Gives him Peace in Times of Uncertainty (Gospel Light Minute #156)

Mike Brown
Mike Brown

He is a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was signed by the Jaguars in 2012. He played college football at Liberty University, where he played quarterback. In 2011, he was named the Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and named to the Big South Preseason All-Conference. While at Liberty, his team, the Liberty Flames, won four straight Big South Conference championships between 2007 and 2010.

After being overlooked in the 2012 NFL draft and overcoming a back injury in 2013, he has been committed to his faith in Jesus Christ, which he said has given him peace in times of uncertainty. He said, “I have no idea how people deal with (the pressures of this job) without a relationship with God. I can sit back, and I can trust in Him and know that no matter what, He has my back. At the end of the day, whatever He has planned for me is going to happen.”

His name is Mike Brown.

Tim Brown: “Our Single Purpose on this Earth is to Serve God” (Gospel Light Minute #152)

Tim Brown
Tim Brown

He is a former NFL wide receiver. He played college football for Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1987, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. He played for the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders for 16 years from 1988–2003, and later played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 9 times, made the AP Second-Team All-Pro, and was selected to the PFW All-Conference 6 times. He won the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 2012. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He is the only player ever to retire in the NFL’s top five leaders for both receiving and return yards. In both 2012 and 2013, he was selected as a finalist for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN.

In an interview with Game Plan for Life, he spoke about his Christian faith. Even though He grew up in the church as a child and was taught the ways of the Lord primarily by his mother, he slacked off from following God in college and in his early days in the NFL. He said, “Even though I had all of that good teaching, it doesn’t mean that I was living the way I was suppose to live. At the University of Notre Dame and my early years at the Raiders, I was ashamed of how I was living. I remember one day, I think I was 23 or 24 years old, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I couldn’t stand the person that I was looking at. I knew that I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do….I was around 27 or 28 when I finally said it was time for me to live right. I had been given all of the teachings. I knew what I needed to do. It was just a matter of making those tough decisions.”

He went on to tell of how God is working in His life. He said, “There are plenty of challenges around and plenty of reasons to keep us on our knees praying and fasting. There are challenges in my family. There are challenges with my kids. It is like my pastor said, if the devil is not attacking your family, then your family must be doing something wrong. He must already have your family where he wants you, if he doesn’t need to attack you anymore. The better you try to do, the more the enemy is going to discourage you.”

Looking at his impact on others and the big picture of life, he said, “When I was about 32 years old and on a Hall of Fame run, I thought my career was being extended because I was going to be in the Hall of Fame. What hit me was that I realized I wasn’t here to make the Hall of Fame. I was there, because I needed to show those young men that you can play the game at a high level and have faith. Initially, I was let down because it wasn’t about the Hall of Fame. Instead, I began to think about the impact that I was going to have on other men. I am not trying to say I lived a perfect life. Sometimes you can walk into a room without saying anything and offend people. That is not what I am trying to say. The men in the locker room the last 10 years that I was there never heard me curse, never saw me drinking or doing anything crazy. When the men talk about me now, they are either going to have to lie about me and make up something, or they are going to have to tell people the truth that I tried my best to live right. When Junior Seau died, I told people that he had lost his purpose. His purpose was not to be a football player. His purpose was not to raise money for all of his charities. His purpose was to serve God and show people how to live for God. That is your purpose even in the midst of all the stuff that you may be going through. I think that it is so important for people to understand that no matter what platform we are given our single purpose on this earth is to serve God. Whether you influence one person or a million people, that is what you have to do. You have to show people that this is what you are supposed to be doing with your life. You are supposed to be serving God.”

His name is Tim Brown.

Steven Jackson: The More I Walk with Christ, the More I Find Peace in My Heart (Gospel Light Minute #147)

Steven Jackson
Steven Jackson

He is a running back for the Atlanta Falcons. He played college football for Oregon State University, and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the first round with the 24th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. He holds the Rams’ franchise record for most career rushing yards. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times, named to the AP Second Team All-Pro two times, and was the NFC’s rushing leader in 2009. He was also awarded the MVP with the St. Louis Rams three times in 2006, 2009, and 2010.

In an interview with CBN, he said that he became a Christian at an early age. He said of his faith, “It was so much a part of my life. It was so embedded in me and I watched my mom and dad, through thick and thin, at every night and every morning, I saw them get on their knees and pray to God. So it was a part of our life that I understood that it was eventually going to be my life as well.”

It wasn’t until he got into college that he started to struggle with his faith. He said, “When I got on my own in college, I started venturing out and trying to find out who I was as a young man, that is when I kind of ran into the pitfalls and temptations — a lot of it, most of it was partying.” But he found out that such a life was not good for him so he decided to make an adjustment and live his life as a Christian.

He said, “I always say that whatever city I stop in, I want to leave a positive imprint on that city. And football is just a platform for me to grab the attention of the masses. But being successful and then being positive with it, you influence so many people. I always go around, do motivational talks, to not only young people, but actually to adults as well about my faith in Christ, about motivating them through hardship and how to achieve goals and how to deal with success.”

“Jesus Christ actually means a lot of things to me,” He said. “One, He’s my heavenly Father. He loves me wholeheartedly. He’s the true definition of unconditional love. Where a lot of times I can get frustrated with myself or with other people, I remind myself that God—He died and laid on the cross for us in my sins that one day I could come to meet Him. Love is just more powerful than anything on this earth. And, the more I try to remind myself of that, the more I try to walk in that, I find peace in myself, in my heart.”

His name is Steven Jackson.

Jacob Tamme: ‘Faith in God Comes First in Life’ (Gospel Light Minute #135)

8916-tamme-jacob_largeHe is a tight end for the Denver Broncos. Before going to the Broncos in 2012, he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played college football for the University of Kentucky, and as a senior, he earned first-team All-SEC honors from both the Associated Press and the coaches polls.

In 2007, he was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and elected to the first-team Academic All-America squad by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He was the 2007 recipient of the Bobby Bowden Award, a national honor presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He helped his teams, the Colts and the Broncos, win the AFC Championship, the Colts in 2009 and the Broncos 2013. He recently helped to lead his team, the Denver Broncos, to a Super Bowl berth in the January 19th’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. His team played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48 on February 2, 2014.

He said of his faith, “I’ve been blessed with two great parents who taught me how to do things the right way and that provided a great foundation for my spiritual life. Today, I am very thankful to have a life partner in my wife and a son. This has given me a great responsibility to lead my family in our faith, relationship with Christ, and provide the same foundation that my parents provided for me. To me, this is the thing that matters most in life.”

“My faith is important because it’s the core of why I believe we exist as humans. Faith allows us to spend an eternity with God and it fuels my every day actions. I’ve seen how having faith in God can change lives and it certainly has changed mine….God has to come first in all of our lives, then family second. Everything else that we chose in life comes after. Football is very consuming and I love being able to go out and compete week in and week out, but you have to elevate the other two (faith and family) because they are most important and the cornerstones of our lives.”

His name is Jacob Tamme.

Peyton Manning: ‘My Faith in Christ has Been #1 in My Life Since I Was 13-Years-Old’ (Gospel Light Minute #134)

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

He is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Before playing for the Broncos, he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He played 14 seasons from 1998 to 2011 for the Colts. He led the Colts to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl championship in 2007.

His statistics throughout his playing career have ranked him among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He has been awarded four NFL MVPs — a league record. He has also been named to 13 Pro Bowls and 7 AP All-Pro teams. He has thirteen 4000-yard passing seasons, and is the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes for the Indianapolis Colts. Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated named him the NFL “player of the decade” for the 2000s. And in 2013, Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsman of the Year.”

Also in 2013: He broke the record for most passing touchdowns in a season with 55 of his own; he joined Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only NFL players in history to throw for over 60,000 yards; and he broke the NFL’s passing yardage record by exactly one yard in the final game of the regular season.

He led his team, the Denver Broncos, to a Super Bowl berth by throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the January 19th AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. His team plays the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48 on February 2, 2014.

He said of his faith, “At age 13, I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since….For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. As important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old.”

He said further, “Some players get more vocal about their faith, and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and I don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism…My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I once looked for. I’ve been blessed—having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight. But I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.”

His name is Peyton Manning.

Rashad Jennings: ‘If You Put God First, He Will Take Care of Everything Else in Your Life’ (Gospel Light Minute #131)

Rashad Jennings
Rashad Jennings

He is a running back for the Oakland Raiders. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft before going to the Raiders in 2013. He played college football at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Before transferring to Liberty, he attended the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and became only the fourth true freshman running back to start there.

At Liberty, he set a Big South Conference record with 3,633 yards with 42 TDs and a 5.7-yards-per-carry average. He holds numerous rushing records including most rushing yards and touchdowns in a single season and most 100-yard consecutive, single-season, and career games. He also played high school football at Liberty Christian Academy where he helped the team advance from a 0-11 season to a 10-1 season in two years.

He says of his faith in God, “I am truly humbled to be in the position I am. There is nothing special about me; I am just in a special position, and it is my job to utilize it to advance the kingdom. My faith is what got me here. My faith is going to keep me here. A part of playing in this game is to make sure that I witness to as many guys as I can; that truth (the Gospel) is going to last longer than the NFL.” He says his time at Liberty University showed him that “if you do things the right way, if you put God first and give him honor in your life, He will take care of everything else.”

His name is Rashad Jennings.

How Alfred Morris Chose to Stop Just ‘Professing to be a Christian’ and Start Living Like One (Gospel Light Minute #126)

[audio https://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/133959-how-alfred-morris-chose-to-stop-just-professing-to-be-a-christian-and-start-living-like-one-gospel-light-minute-126.mp3]
Alfred Morris
Alfred Morris

He is a running back for the Washington Redskins. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Redskins. He played college football at Florida Atlantic University. He holds career records at Florida Atlantic University in carries, rushing yards, and touchdowns. He broke Washington’s records for single-season rushing yards and rookie rushing touchdowns in 2012. And he became the fourth player in NFL history to record more than 1,600 rushing yards as a rookie.

Growing up in poverty, he credits his mother and father for instilling in him morals, values and beliefs in family, taking him to church every week and introducing him to what it means to have a relationship with Christ. As he progressed through high school and college, he said, “I realized I had professed Christianity throughout my life and given God the glory, but I was still doing a lot of the worldly, college-kid stuff. God was blessing me and opening doors, but, when I honestly looked at myself, I saw that I was lukewarm in my faith, one foot in and one foot out.”

“That all changed when I hit a rough patch during my junior year. A couple days before a game, I had so much going on and was feeling overwhelmed with it all. Things piled up, and I hit rock bottom. Broken down, I called out to the Lord and told Him I couldn’t do this life on my own anymore. I gave it all to Him that day and jumped in with both feet. I gave God my heart and have never been the same since. I felt the pureness of God’s love and how all He wants is a relationship with each of us and to shower us with His unconditional love. It’s been an amazing journey since then.”

He is thankful now for the Redskins’ chaplain and for his teammates who encourage him daily in his walk with Christ. He said, “Professing Christ can be a popular thing to do, but living as He’s called us to isn’t easy. We all fall short of His glory, but to be able to walk the walk with others and be there for each other is the true definition of being a teammate. I thank God for transforming me and being the solid rock on which I stand. He has never left me. Without Him, I would have given up a long time ago. He’s blessed me with the abilities to play this game, and in return I play to glorify Him. He is, was, and always will be the true prize.”

His name is Alfred Morris.

London Fletcher: ‘I Was Living in Darkness for So Long; But When I Accepted Christ, My Eyes Were Opened’ (Gospel Light Minute #124)

London Fletcher
London Fletcher

He is a middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins. Before signing with the Redskins, he played for the St. Louis Rams and the Buffalo Bills. Well known for never missing a game in his career, he is ranked first among active players in this regard with over 200 starts. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and to the Second-team All-Pro twice. He helped his team, the St. Louis Rams win Super Bowl 34 in 2000. He won the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award in 2012 and was the Washington Redskins’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and the NFC Defensive Player of the Month in December 2012.

He says of his faith in Christ, “For several months in 2004, I felt God was telling me to come to Him. But I resisted the call until after the first Bible study that Fred Raines, a chaplain with Athletes in Action, had at training camp. I was excited to accept and follow Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was tired of living the life that I was living. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I felt a fulfillment inside that I had been searching for. I spent years chasing things I thought would bring me everlasting joy and happiness: chasing Super Bowl rings or a multi-million dollar contract; or a new house, cars and jewelry. None of those things did for me what Christ did in an instant.”

“I grew up in a home where my grandmother had us in church. It was more of a routine thing to do. I would hear people talk about how Christ changes you, but I was skeptical then. I was living in the darkness for so long. But when I accepted Christ, my eyes were opened; I wanted to shout and tell the world. I called and told my best friend — all the friends that I knew — that I had received Christ. I wanted them to really experience the joy that I felt. I was so thirsty; I really wanted to experience all that God wanted to give me. I didn’t just want to keep the relationship I had with the Lord on the inside. I wanted it to be an outward expression as well and that’s why I was excited about getting baptized that following week [after I gave my life to Jesus Christ].”

“I encourage you today: if you already haven’t made the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior — don’t hesitate. Don’t be discouraged by someone else. Accept Christ in your heart. Admit to Him that you’re a sinner. I believe that this is the best decision you will make in your life.”

His name is London Fletcher.

Russell Okung Never Knew his Father, but says the Heavenly Father has Always Been Present (Gospel Light Minute #123)

[audio https://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/129012-russell-okung-never-knew-his-father-but-says-the-heavenly-father-has-always-been-present-gospel-light-minute-123.mp3]
Russell Okung
Russell Okung

He is an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks who was drafted as the 6th overall pick in 2010. He played college football for Oklahoma State University. While there, he was twice recognized as an All-American.

Raised in a single-parent household, he never met his father. However, he learned at an early age to focus on God and allow God’s peace to rule his life. He said of his faith, “My father passed when I was a very young boy. I have never had my father in my life, but my heavenly Father has always been present. The Lord has placed plenty of outstanding mentors in my life to help facilitate my walk. I’m blessed enough to have God fearing men of great valor and integrity to help me. My faith is important to me because I realize that I’m not in this world by accident. My faith speaks to my heart. It gives me confidence, strength, and renews me each day. Though I don’t physically see my faith, I see it manifested through my life, with my platform, off and on the field as well as my personal life. My faith is my rock!”

His name is Russell Okung.

Dallas Clark: How the Death of his Mother Moved him Closer to God (Gospel Light Minute #119)

[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/121226-dallas-clark-how-the-death-of-his-mother-moved-him-closer-to-god-gospel-light-minute-119.mp3]
Dallas Clark
Dallas Clark

He is a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens. Before signing with the Ravens, he played with the Indianapolis Colts from 2003−2011 with whom he won Super Bowl 41. He also played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. During his college career at the University of Iowa, he earned All-American honors, and was recognized as the top college tight end in the nation. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2009. And his team was twice named AFC Champions in 2006 and in 2009.

He says of his faith that his mother’s death before his high school graduation pushed him toward God. He said, “Graduating from high school is supposed to be one of the greatest moments of your life. You’re looking forward to college; feeling like you’re on top of the world, all set to run off and explore everything life has in store for you. Four days before my graduation, that’s exactly how I felt. But then something happened that changed things in a hurry: My mother passed away. Suddenly, my entire future looked a lot different. I had every reason to sink down into the dumps at that point, to be bitter at the world and everyone in it. But my mother’s death actually pushed me in the opposite direction instead. It helped to strengthen my belief that God is in control of things, and that even though bad things happen, they happen for a reason. In my mom’s case, even though I thought she was the best person in the world, I really feel that her time here was done. She got me through high school, and now it’s my turn to go out and use what she taught me to make the world a better place. You may be going through a similar loss right now. If so, I feel for you. But I encourage you not to get stuck there. Bring it to God, and ask Him to help you make sense of things. Speaking from experience, I realize such events can feel like the end. But if you give them over to God, He can show you how to make them a new beginning.”

His name is Dallas Clark.

Buffalo Bills Player, Jairus Byrd, says he Finds ‘Mind-blowing Peace’ in his Relationship with Jesus Christ (Gospel Light Minute #118)

Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd

He is a NFL football player who plays safety for the Buffalo Bills. He was drafted by the Bills in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He is a two-time Pro Bowl-er and, twice, he has been the league leader in interceptions.

He played football at the University of Oregon. In his freshman year, he was an All-American second-team selection and the Pac-10 co-freshman player of the year. As a sophomore, he was an All-Pac 10 conference honorable mention. And as a junior, he was an all-Pac 10 first-team selection and the defensive MVP of the 2008 Holiday Bowl.

With all of his success thus far, there’s a lot of pressure and unknowns in the NFL. In fact, when he faced the possibility of being traded during offseason, he said it’s times like that where his relationship with Jesus Christ helps him through life.

He said, “I went to a Christian school growing up, and at 9 (years old) I accepted Christ in my life… The biggest thing in the world that comes to mind [about this relationship] is peace. When you’re in this profession and you get to this level, it’s your job and there’s a lot of pressure from outside people. But that relationship just gives you peace. Peace that comes with being in a relationship with Jesus is mind blowing. The things that people think that matter — money and fame — are short lived. You know people say “NFL” stands for ‘Not For Long.’ This game could be over in a minute. So what do you have as your foundation? If you build football as your foundation, it could be gone just like that. So, you’ve got to make sure your foundation is built on something that’s going to last. And [a relationship with Jesus] is something that will last forever.”

He says, every time he takes the field he wants fans to see more than just interceptions, tackles, and big hits. He said, “I just want them to see a passion, first and foremost. When they see me on the field, I want them to see someone in worship to God; whatever I have, whatever you see me doing, it’s an act of worship.”

His name is Jairus Byrd.

Anquan Boldin: My Faith is What Keeps Me Focused (Gospel Light Minute #117)

Anquan Boldin
Anquan Boldin

He is a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2010. After helping the Ravens win Super Bowl 47, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He was named AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times in 2003, 2006, and 2008. His other records include: most receptions in a rookie season, most receiving yards in a first career game, and most receptions in the first 26 games of an NFL career, among others.

He said of his Christian faith: “That’s just who I am; that’s just my faith. No matter what goes on in my life; surgeries, injuries, hard times or whatever, I’m a man of faith and I believe that’s one of the reasons I’m here today. Faith is what keeps me grounded; it’s what keeps me focused. Through life you are going to go through some ups and downs, you are going to go through some hardships, but me being grounded in my faith I think truly is the reason that I’m here.”

His name is Anquan Boldin.

Matt Hasselbeck: “God Doesn’t Need My Ability. He Just Needs My Availability.” (Gospel Light Minute #116)

Matt Hasselbeck
Matt Hasselbeck

He is a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1998, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. During his time there, he led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance.

After ten seasons with the Seahawks, he joined the Tennessee Titans for a brief period in 2011. After being released, he signed a contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013. He was selected to three Pro Bowls in 2003, 2005, and 2007 and to the All-Pro in 2005.

When he was in the first grade, his parents came to Christ. He said, “I grew up in a great church with parents who were great role models.” He personally gave his life to Christ at Vacation Bible School in Boston at the age of 11. While at Boston College, he got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He credits God with the success he has experienced in football and seeks to glorify Him in all that He does. He said, “God doesn’t need my ability. He just needs my availability. That’s my approach to life.” He and his wife and children frequently team up with Compassion International because they want to see more children reach their full potential.

His name is Matt Hasselbeck.

O.J. Atogwe on Committing his Life to Christ and the Violent Nature of Football (Gospel Light Minute #115)

Oshiomogho Atogwe
Oshiomogho Atogwe

He was drafted in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams and played with the team until 2010. In 2011, he played for the Washington Redskins. And in 2012, he played with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Stanford University. In 2007, he was the NFC Interceptions leader, and in 2008, he was awarded the MVP award by the St. Louis Rams.

Born in Canada with Nigerian heritage, he said that as a child, his parents taught him about Jesus and he understood the basic Christian holidays, but it wasn’t until he was a freshman at Stanford University that he came to know Jesus Christ personally and he chose to commit his life to serving him. He joined a group called Cardinal Life, a Christian athlete ministry for all the sports teams at Stanford, and through their activities he saw that there was a better way to live.

As the son-in-law of NFL coach and former Chicago Bears middle linebacker, Mike Singletary, he is known to deliver hard hits. When asked whether there was a conflict in aspiring to be a good Christian and the violence inherent in the game of football, he said, “As long as I’m playing by the rules I’m governed by, then God will be pleased with me. As long as I’m hitting them where I’m allowed to hit them, it’s fair game. Everybody agreed to the rules. If he is hurt, you pray for him. He’s in God’s hands. You don’t want to seriously harm anybody. I don’t’ believe that is in the heart of a Christian. We are here to love each other and build them up. God wouldn’t be OK with me trying to hurt someone because we are putting the sport above the lives of the people He created. But He has called us to play this game 100 percent without fear or hesitation to His glory, and as long as we do that within the rules, I believe that in His eyes He is pleased with what we are doing.

His name is O.J. Atogwe.