NFL Stars You Probably Didn't Know Were Christians
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.
- 2015 Aug 17
Although Christians can easily get preoccupied with the ungodly people who rise to celebrity and fame, Associated Press sports writer Rob Maaddi wants to remind us that there are many celebrities who value their faith.
Maaddi has recently released a book titled Football Faith: 52 NFL Stars Reflect on Their Faith in which he gives readers a more personal look at who some of the NFL’s top players are behind their uniforms.
“I thought it would be a great devotional book to inspire and encourage, to motivate football fans, especially the young kids who often are looking for role models in the wrong places. So, its just to inspire, encourage and motivate them to open the Bible and read it just because they see that one of their favorite players read the Bible and has a favorite verse," Maaddi stated.
Although you will have to purchase the book to read all 52 stories from these players, The Christian Post gives a partial list.
Maaddi begins by discussing Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
“When the Eagles signed him last year and I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Mark, he shared his story. It was very similar to mine. He had a lot of the issues that I had back in my life that I had to overcome. I knew he had come a long way and God had impacted his life," Maaddi stated, commenting that he was pleasantly surprised to discover that Sanchez was a down-to-earth man who loved the Lord.
Another well-known player on the list is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees commented on God’s plan for bringing him to New Orleans.
“I looked back after I had already been in New Orleans for a year and I said, 'You know what, God? That was probably the best thing that could've happened to me! Otherwise, I would have never had the opportunity to be a part of this community, to be a part of the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina’."
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers also makes an appearance in Maaddi’s book.
Rodgers says he grew up in a Christian home and learned how to be committed to God, but also to respect the beliefs of others.
"Let your actions talk about your beliefs," Rogers said. "Start a relationship with others, then finally when there is a chance for questions, tell them about God. My platform as a professional athlete and the face of the Green Bay Packers gives me a tangible way to share my heart and faith."
Perhaps one of the most interesting stories in Maaddi’s book is that of Michael Vick, former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Jets, and currently a free agent.
In 2007 Vick was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 23 months in prison for his involvement in an interstate dogfighting ring. However, Vick testified that that experience was what drew him to Christ.
"Before I was incarcerated, it was all about me,” Vick said. “When I got to prison, I realized that I couldn't do it anymore. The one thing I could rely on was my faith in God. Through the unfortunate situation I put myself in, I found Jesus and asked Him for forgiveness and turned my life over to God."
Maaddi’s book is filled with many other inspiring stories of football players who recognize that God is the one who has blessed them with the talents they possess and that all praise goes to Him.
Photo courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org
Publication date: August 17, 2015