I was 20 years old when I left UCLA to go to the Denver Broncos in the NFL. I grew up in Texas where football is huge, but I never really was a drop back passer until college, and then two years later I was in an NFL huddle.
I needed more work and more playing time, but I was playing behind John Elway, an NFL legend, and when you are the backup to John Elway, you dont get much playing time.
After two and a half years, I was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, and moved with them to St. Louis. I was released by the Rams, signed with the New York Giants, was released by them, signed with the Atlanta Falcons, and was released during their training camp in 1997.
For 1997, 1998 and 1999, I was not in football. I was selling insurance with Allstate. The great expectations I had coming out of UCLA as a 20 year old seemed to have fallen flat.
I had grown up knowing the Lord. I knew who Jesus was and what He did and accepted all that. I almost lived in fear of God. I was afraid that if I made mistakes or the wrong choices, He would punish me and take things away from me.
My wife, Jennifer, was a believer when I met her and always encouraged me in my faith. She had a relationship with Jesus, and even gave me a Bible on my birthday the first year we were dating. If I was faced with a problem, she would always remind me to pray.
When I was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, I rededicated my life to Christ. I had begun to do some things that werent good or productive while in Denver. I tried to fit in with the guys. I started drinking a little bit, and got caught up in material things. My marriage began to suffer, and Jennifer and I had struggles. Being traded away from Denver was one of the great blessings of our marriage. I started living for Christ again.
Ironically, I thought that by rededicating my life to Christ my career would take off. It didnt. God had other plans. In fact, all the things I was so dependent on that the NFL could give me, were taken away, one by one, until there was nothing left. We were brought to our knees to the point where there was no one to rely upon but God.
After three years as an insurance salesman, I went back into football. I played for a year in the Arena League and for another year with the Los Angeles Xtreme in the XFL. I was the MVP of the XFL, which created some interest among NFL teams. I signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a backup and a year later, I was their starting quarterback.
Its been wonderful to be part of Gods plan. I could not have asked for things to turn out any better. I have a wonderful wife and children, a great marriage and a career in the NFL, doing what Ive always wanted to do. And the best part is that I know God has brought me to this place through some hard times, yes, but sometimes the hard times are necessary for us to finally be brought to a place where we trust God alone.
I have no idea how this will end up. Ive learned that everything can be gone in an instant. And the day will come when I will no longer be in the NFL. But I know my identity is not wrapped up in being a football player. I am a child of God. I am loved by God. I am a family man. I have experienced some wonderful things, but nothing greater than knowing Jesus as my Savior.
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