From football to Footlocker to the Super bowl. That's been my NFL journey.
I was a four year started for the University of Kansas. I never imagined I would play in the NFL. My senior year was the first time I started thinking about playing at the professional level.
After my senior year was over, I began reading all the draft magazines I could get my hands on. They all predicted me to be a definite draft pick. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was when I didn't get drafted. I felt like a failure. Until about an hour after the draft, when teams started calling offering my free-agent contracts.
I eventually decided on the New York Jets because they offered me the most money. I was cut after training camp and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. I only lasted four weeks on the practice squad before being cut again for the second time. I waited about three weeks and got a job at Footlocker selling shoes.
This was a very humbling period for me. Especially since guys that I played with on the Chiefs, would come in and spend more money in one hour than I made in one week. I found myself really starting to covet football without even knowing it.
I re-signed with the Chiefs the next year (1996). That year from January to July, I worked harder than I ever had before. I dedicated all my time to becoming the best football player I could be. Only to be cut again from the Chiefs after training camp. Just when I thought about totally giving up on my dream of being in the NFL, I got picked up off waivers by the New Orleans Saints. I played there until 1998.
That same year (1998) was the worst year of my life. I had an injury plagued season. I went through a painful divorce and by week 10 found myself cut again. I wanted to die at this point in my life. I was literally broken in so many ways, especially spiritually. Then came a revival.
I was signed by the Tampa bay Buccaneers were I played out the remainder of that 1998 season. I also signed back with the Buc's for two more seasons. I began to really enjoy the game of football again. I know the only reason my life began to take off in every way was because of the confession and repentance that took place. (1 John 1:9)
In 2001 I signed a contract with the St. Louis Rams. This was a year of unexplainable favor. I was a full time starter for the first time in my career. My team went to the Super bowl. I was baptized again and really started to become a disciple of Christ. (Matthew 16:24)
I signed with New England after two seasons with the Rams here we were back to back Super Bowl Champs in 03 and 04. Although I have two super bowl rings, there have been many challenges along the way. Only my faith in God has gotten me through the difficult times.
Before 1999, I always had one foot in the world and one in the church. I tried to live in the flesh but pray in the spirit and the two are contrary to one another. Although I was raised in the church, I never allowed God to reign in ever area of my life. It was as if I tried to put everything in my life into little tiny boxes that were all separated.
It wasn't until 1999 that I started to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My life before Jesus came into it was a mess. Now my bible, beliefs and behavior all match up. I can tell everyone without a doubt that accepting Jesus into my life was the best thing I have ever done. Now I truly know what it means to have the peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
I am often asked what it felt like to play in the Super Bowl. It was an awesome experience and I will never forget it. It can't compare with my relationship with Jesus Christ. I used to say that all the time - that winning championships is meaningless compared to spending eternity in heaven. That's easy to say when you haven't won anything. But now I have - and I know it's true. I am so thrilled to have that Super Bowl ring - but - it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 8:19-21) - and that includes Super Bowl trophies.
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