Archive for June, 2012

Dave Pasch, Broadcasting For Christ

Posted: June 29, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews

Photo Credit: ESPNmediazone3.com

When I first started this site, I wanted to use my writing/broadcasting talents to serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I wondered how I would be able to do that and if there were any Christian broadcasters out there for a young aspiring broadcaster like myself to look too. Then, I talked to one of those men who have been a huge inspiration to me.

His name is Dave Pasch. Pasch currently works for ESPN as the play-by-play man for both college football in the noon slot every Saturday as well as working NBA,  Big East men’s college basketball games as well as women’s NCAA tournament games . You can also hear his voice on the radio doing the play-by-play for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals since 2002. When I spoke with Dave on the phone last week, I realized that Christians can be broadcasters because we can do all things through the Lord because He gives us the strength to do it, as Paul wrote to the people in Philippi.

I hope this interview as always encourages you as it did me. I thank Dave for taking the time to talk with me and give me some great words of encouragement both for my future career endeavors and along my walk with Christ!

1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Dave: I was not raised in a Christian home. I grew up in a conservative Jewish home. First, I was older, I went to church to learn about Judaism, a woman who is now my wife came up to me to talk to me about Christ. Believing in Christ did not mean turning back on Judaism. That helped me to get started along the right path. Very skeptical, did a lot about reading and researching. It ed to an intellectual belief that Jesus was the Messiah. I eventually had to come to a hard decision to exercise faith, baptism, and repentance. I was convicted to truly get my life together with Christ. I went along with what my wife thought would be best at first, but over time, began to realize that was only through Christ and His transforming power.. It was a process and it was all about making the hard decision. It took time, but about 11 years. 

2. Who have been some of your role models during your walk?

Dave: There have been Christians, such as friends through the church, pastors, Bible teachers, people in the broadcasting business (NFL Network’s Scott Hanson). God has brought alongside me people to help me grow both inside and outside of the broadcasting world. A lot at first was on my own reading and studying the Word. It was about coming to grips with what was true, but people helped me spiritually and emotionally through the process.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with Christ?

Dave: Two verses: John 1:14 – About Christ being the true tabernacle. He is the King of Kings. Proverbs 3:5-6: Those verses are verses that I believe in and challenge you to believe more. It is a daily thing to trust and not lean on what you only see and understand. I have always been a skeptic.  To truly make a point, you want to be truly convinced before you share that view, just like before you broadcast a game. It is hard to be on air and not be truly convinced what you are talking about. I have to Lean on Him and trust Him to figure things out and that is still a daily battle. Let God direct my path and align my circumstances without manipulating it in my head first.

4. One thing I have always been curious of as a young writer is how can you glorify God as a broadcaster?

D: There are a lot of ways that you could do it such as the ways God has given you. It depends on who you are around. I have been blessed to work with other Christians that have wanted to grow and do Bible studies. I love to teach and God has opened doors to help minister to others. Being a friend and sharing your faith in a respectful, gentle way. There are a lot of ways to glorify God. Your words have to match your life. Love people would be the first thing! Let them see your heart, see how you live. Show that you care! The key is faithful friendships and building relationships.

5. You are a college football play-by-play announcer on ESPN. What are your thoughts on the new four team playoff coming into play in 2014?

D: I love it. It is arguably the most exciting regular season in sports and I think that will continue. With a playoff, it makes the regular season even better. It adds a couple more games to what you have now. It doesn’t make the other bowl games meaningless. It enhances importance of winning a conference championship. People can’t get enough football and ESPN has the best games for the most part. A lot of platforms are there to talk about those games (ESPN , ABC, Live, Final). So many places people could go to even watch replays of game. Fans are given the ultimate avenues. It is more of a reason to keep up on a day-vs.-day basis. Some teams do not play each other. Teams play different caliber schedules and that is the beauty of college football.

6. The Miami Heat last night won the NBA Championship. What are your thoughts on LeBron James winning his elusive first ring?

D: LeBron is the best player in the world. It Silences a lot of doubters. People will never let him forget leaving Cleveland and how he handled it, but there are some people who will change their mind. In terms of how he handles himself, he has a clean reputation, good with teammates, handles himself well in the media. There are a lot of reasons to be happy for him. It is hard to come up with reasons to criticize because he has the trophy. A lot of people didn’t think they would win it all this year and the Heat went through a ton of adversity in the series and even the cramps for James in Game 4. Last year, they played with a lot of hate and there was a lack of fulfillment. He realized some of the criticism was true, so he relaxed and played a different way with his teammates.

7. You cover the Arizona Cardinals as the play-by-play radio guy. Watching mini-camp, what are your thoughts on the team so far? Have you had a chance to talk with any Christians on the team?

D: Yes, when Kurt Warner was here, I became friends with him and a couple of other Christians.There are  players, coaches, administrators who are Christians. I am not around much to develop relationships in-season, but we had a Summer Bible Study a few years ago. There are plenty  of opportunities to share the faith with the team. The team has to figure out who their quarterback is and I think they will figure it out this year. Training camp we will find out for sure, but in the end, Kevin Kolb is the guy based on potential that gives you best chance to win. You want to see it on a consistent basis. In the 4th quarter, Skelton would play great, but what about the other three quarters? Kolb brings more to the table, but does not mean he will win the job and it is not about the money, but the best player to win. You need a quarterback or even two to go far in the season. Throw the ball downfield and get it to those dominant receivers.

8. If you had a colleague come up to you and asked you about your faith, what would you tell them?

D: I am pretty honest and forthright about my faith when it comes up in a conversation. I am a follower of Christ. I would tell them how I came up with that conclusion, continue to help someone understand. I was reading Isaiah and does that reading make sense to you? It is not a commitment you make only with your mouth, but a full hearted commitment. It takes more than just five minutes. Developing a friendship is important! It takes time, but I would want them to tell me what they believe? Be willing to listen to others. Peter always talks about a reason to be ready to share your faith. It is about knowing what you believe and being able to communicate with it.

We at Jesus N Sports, wish Dave Pasch the best of luck at ESPN and with the Cardinals this season. I pray that all of us look at Proverbs 3 and just continue to trust the Lord in everything that we do and lean on Him in everything that we do in our lives. No matter how big or how small, we can ALWAYS go to Him in prayer!

 

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Ryan Mathews: An Outfielder In Action

Posted: June 25, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Baseball, Interviews

Photo Credit: NewsObserver.com

Another feature on the site I wanted to bring was talking not only to professional athletes, but to prospective athletes as well. This involved talking to some minor league baseball players after they were drafted. I wanted to see how they glorify God with their play both in college and how they are preparing for that as they start their professional career.

For this interview, I talked with Oakland Athletics’ draftee Ryan Mathews. Mathews was taken in the 27th round by Oakland out of North Carolina State University. NC State went on a great run in this year’s College World Series, as they advanced to the Super Regionals before losing to the top seeded Florida Gators. Ryan has also been a part of an organization called Athletes In Action, which has helped to strengthen his faith in Jesus as well as members of his team that take part in a Bible Study. Also, he has already spoken about God to two of his teammates down in Phoenix, Arizona.

Here is my Q+A with Ryan. I hope you all come away from it as encouraged as I was:

  1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Ryan:  I grew up in a Christian family. I was going to church every week ever since I was born, but never really lived it. I went my own way in high school and early college, living life nowhere near what a follower of Christ would live like. I got into a lot of wrong things through high school and it wasn’t until the end of my freshman year of college when I realized I had something missing. I knew it was God, but how do I get close to Him? When I came to NC State, I got involved in a Bible Study and it was a key point to me opening up the Bible for the first time and reading the Gospel. I went with Athletes in Action on a mission trip to Alaska that summer. Allowed me to see what it means to stand for Christ. I got baptized at the end of summer.

2. Who have been some of your role models on and off the field?

R: On and off the field, it would be Christ. I am Constantly reminded of Christ’s humility. Often, in sports, it is easy for athletes to try to elevate themselves over other people and society could do that too. I am always drawn back to the Gospel to the way He lived life on Earth and the humbleness He showed on Earth. Living in a world where most athletes are tempted to be higher than they should be.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with Christ?

R: The Bible verse I write the most during autographs is John 16:33. I like that verse a lot and it relates to my journey because I have had a lot of setbacks in my athletic career. It could have been easy to give up especially in baseball, which is a game of failure. Jesus tells us you will fail, but not to worry because Jesus has already overcome the world.

4. Talk about some of the fellowship you had in college at NC State or in pro ball now. Can religion and sports co-exist today?

R: Definitely. I had a lot of great experiences at NC State. I got involved with Athletes In Action and the organization changed my life through Christ. Several guys in the team are on it as well and it was the reason I came back to my senior year after being given option to become professional. It is compromised of other believers in the athletic program. It was life changing! So many athletes seeking to live through the same way I was. In terms of co-existing, we could use our lives in sports to spread the Gospel. We are Christians that play a sport, not athletes. The way we play the game and the failures and successes allow us to carry ourselves and encourage other guys in a team-oriented sport. The teamwork allows us to build relationships that we don’t get often with non-believers.

5. If a teammate was curious about your faith, what would you say to them?

R: I have actually been able to meet two believers in pro ball. I love opportunities to share my faith. It’s easy for me to relate to the guys who aren’t Christian because of my experience. It gives me a great platform to share Christ for what He has done for me and relate to their life now.

6. For those who don’t know you, what sports player would you say your game resembles?

R: I would compare myself to Tim Tebow because I am not ashamed about my faith. People at NC State probably got sick of me talking about God and Jesus. When someone interviews me, I talk about faith over baseball because God deserves all the credit and the glory! I would rather be remembered as a follower over Christ. I actually had a class with Tebow my first year at Florida.

7. Talk about the great run you guys had at NC State in the Super Regionals!

R: It was awesome. We ended up having over 40 wins and hosting the Raleigh Regional and winning it. The coolest thing about our run was that we had a big lead against Vanderbilt and they came back and beat us. We were in the loser’s bracket and everyone was down. It was shocking to go from having such a huge lead and being in the driver’s seat to facing elimination after losing lead in the 8th and 9th inning. It was late at night, so we had to play a doubleheader the next day. We didn’t have any time to process anything. We won first game vs. UNC-W and then beat Vanderbilt by one run. We played Commodores for championship with no pitching. We got down early by several runs. Down four runs in the 8th inning, we scored five runs in last two innings to win the regional! A miraculous comeback! In the locker room, I kept hearing guy after guy saying they were praying and knew God answered our prayers, even some who did not follow the Lord! Forget the championship, but to hear ten guys says something like that.

8. As you progress through the minor leagues, what is the one thing you are working on improving about your game?

R: Consistency. Major League Baseball involves playing a lot more games and with wooden bats. There is a lot better competition and once you get here, everyone is really good. There is nothing too much specific. I just got to practice and work hard and do the best that I can.

–  We at Jesus N Sports wish Ryan the best of luck with his pro career and pray that he continue to glorify God on and off the baseball field. You can follow him on Twitter: @RMath13

The Miami Heat: A Lesson In Humility

Posted: June 23, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA, Sports Devotionals

Photo Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)

The whole sports world is buzzing over the coronation of the “king”. On Thursday night, the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. More importantly, it was the first NBA Championship ring for Lebron James. The man who had the infamous “Decision” two years ago now finally got his time in the limelight for the right reasons. He told ESPN that it was about time and he was right.

After nine years of high expectations that were Jordanesque, playoff failures, and comments about telling the media to live our lives, LeBron finally got that title. Two years ago, I was a Lebron James fan. Then, when he announced his decision to join Dwyane Wade in South Beach, I became a person that rooted against him. I was so happy last year when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks showed that you could still win the championship as a team and not just because you have two superstars.

However, in these playoffs, we saw a different Miami Heat team. They went through so much adversity whether it was the series deficits to Indiana and Boston, the injury to Chris Bosh, a Game 1 2nd half collapse against OKC or cramps to James in Game 4, Miami always had an answer. They fed off the tough Finals’ loss from a year ago and realized that we couldn’t just win the championship by showing up. There had to be hard work put in and teamwork that was shown with James and Wade getting guys like Bosh, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers involved in the offense.

I always thought after last year, especially with the big party the Big Three threw after the Decision, that this team was too focused on their egos and that greatness was just going to come in a matter of seconds. You can just flashback to the not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 titles comments by James at that party as an example.

Thursday night, I heard a different LeBron James and one that I could get back to not disliking him again because I think he finally felt humble and realized he needed to win this not for the haters, but for himself and his teammates. Take a look at some quotes I took from the Game 5 postgame news conference.

“It took me to go all the way to the top and then hit rock bottom to realize what I needed to do as a professional athlete and as a person,” he said. “I was just happy I was able to get back to this position. I was happy I was able to do it the right way, and do it for myself and not for anyone else.”

“The best thing that happened to me was losing the Finals, and me playing the way I played,” he revealed, “because basically, I got back to the basics. I knew I was going to have to change as a basketball player and as a person to get what I wanted. It just happened one year later.” (NBA.com)

As Christians, we can all learn a lesson from LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It is all about being humble. We can have good success at our jobs or with our friends and feel good about it, but the danger comes when we think we are the greatest. It becomes a trap of falling in love with wordly things rather than focusing on God above who gives us the gifts to achieve that success and His unfailing love that brings us encouragement to succeed.

The perfect example of that humility is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul talks about Jesus’ loving example in his epistle to the Philippians. He talks about us taking on the interests of others rather than ourselves, but more importantly, imitating the mindset of Jesus. God’s Son was of high esteem in Heaven, but because God loved us so much, He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins so that by faith in who He is and what He did we could be forgiven. Talk about going from the top of the mountain to being mocked on the cross as a criminal. This is what Paul writes:

“but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:7-10)

Now LeBron is not Jesus, but looking at “king James” helps to remind me of the true KING! Jesus is the King of Kings and He is great and Holy! Today, I exhort you to trust in the Lord in all things and continue to remain humble. Always put the Lord first in everything that you do because without Him, none of it would be possible. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: 

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”(Matthew 23:12)

I pray that I, as well as all of you, continue to remember that the Lord gives us our platforms to spread the Gospel, and, even though some might praise us for our efforts, remember that all the praise and the glory does not go to us, it goes to the Lord! We do it ALL FOR HIM!

 

Chansi Stuckey: A Free Agent Sold To Christ

Posted: June 18, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, NFL

(Photo Credit: Sipkin/NY Daily News)

A few months ago, I had the pleasure to talk to my first athlete from the National Football League. He was not well known across the country, but definitely was well known in the state of New York where I am from. His name is Chansi Stuckey. The former New York Jet wide receiver is currently searching for a job in the NFL, but even through his hardships, that has not stopped him from pursuing Christ and knowing that God will provide for Him.

The 28-year-old wide receiver was a 7th round pick of the New York Jets back in 2008 out of Clemson, where he was a two-time all-ACC wideout. His career in New York was short-lived due to injuries, but he did catch Mark Sanchez’s first NFL touchdown pass. He has also spent some time with the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals over his career.

Enjoy this Q+A I had with Chansi about his faith and even Tim Tebow’s publicity of his faith is brought up in this discussion:

1. How did you come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

C:  I came to know the Lord in college at Clemson.  I would fall back and forth for the next 4-5 years until I made up my mind two years ago to go full tilt. I got re-baptized at that time also. 

2. Who have been the influences in your life that have helped to encourage you on your walk with Christ?

C: Reggie Hodges, who is a punter for the Cleveland Browns and Brad cooper, who is a Youth leader at Newspring church in South Carolina.

3. You have played for three NFL teams so far in your career. How have these teams helped you in your walk. What are some faith based things that you do with other teammates?

C: It is the same format everywhere I go.  It is all about just dealing with different guys because all of our struggles are different.

4. If you could pick one verse to describe your life right now, what would it be and why?
C: There’s not one because I feel like life is so evolving and changing that it just has to be the entire Bible!

5. What is your take on the Tim Tebow story? A lot of people like Kurt Warner say that he should tone it down. Where do you stand on whether religion and sports can co-exist with each other?

C: God is creator of all.  It’s no accident Tim is where he is.  Anytime you’re doing something for the Lord there will be opposition.

I spoke with Chansi again last week as we talked about what was going on with his life. He sent me this direct message that encouraged me to say that with God, we should always have confidence!

“God has something, so he has me in the active patience mode, which is a great growing experience”

In turn, I shared with him this verse from the book of Hebrews that has taught me to always be confident with the Lord on my side.

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35)

With that in mind, I exhort you today to keep your confidence up in tough times. Even though the plan from God may not be clear from you now, you need to exercise patience because the Lord knows what is best for us and His will will be put into motion at His time, not ours!

We at JesusNSports keep our thoughts and prayers with Mr. Stuckey and pray that God will keep him in that active patience mode!

You can follow Chansi on Twitter: @ChansiStuckey

Marquis Daniels and Psalm 91

Posted: June 15, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, NBA

Photo Credit: Matthew West

In our next interview series, I talked with Boston Celtics’ guard Marquis Daniels. Daniels graduated from Auburn University as a shooting guard where he was second team all-SEC in 2003. He was undrafted, but signed by the Dallas Mavericks and made NBA all-rookie 2nd team in his first year. Currently, Daniels is a reserve for the Boston Celtics.

Even though the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals fell a bit short when they lost a seven game series to the Miami Heat, Boston still had a great season. He played in an average of twelve minutes per game and averaged three points per game for Doc Rivers’ club.

When I talked with him, his faith really stood out to me. As you read this interview, keep in mind the influence his grandparents had on his faith as well as his favorite Bible chapter always being a constant reminder to him. Enjoy the Interview and God Bless!

1. First off, Marquis, how did you come to know the Lord?

M: My grandfather and grandmother were the pastor and mother of our church, so I was in church every Wednesday and Sunday.  I had no options but to get to know the LORD!!
2. Who have been your Christian role models both off the court and on the court? How?

M: My role models off the court has been my bigma who I was speaking about earlier, she has been the glue to my family and she’s never lost her faith and continues to serve the lord to this day, as far as on the court I haven’t really had any sit downs with anyone to really get into there spiritual world!

3. If you can name your favorite verse or a verse that exemplifies your walk with Christ, what would it be and why?

M: My favorite verse is Psalms 91. I have the whole verse tatted on my side word for word. I used to have to read to my grandparents frequently due to their eye problems and my grandfather was blind.

4. Do you think religion and sports can co-exist in the locker room today? Why or Why not?

M: I think it can co-exist, you see players praying in there lockers before they take the court, but everyone has different views on religion, so I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem!

5. If a teammate came up to you asking about your faith, what would you say to them?

M: I’m not afraid to acknowledge my LORD and savior and I’m open to discuss with anyone to see how they view things.  I may  learn something from them as I hope they can gain knowledge from me!!
After Marquis mentioned Psalm 91 to me, I gave it a read and it was a very encouraging chapter. One verse stuck out to me in particular because it shows that in any situation, the Lord is there to protect us in any situation. As Christians, we need to remember that in spite of our circumstances sometime, we can look to God for strength.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your waysOn their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)

We thank Marquis for taking the time out of his day to interview with us about his faith!

Photo Credit: John McDonnell/Washington Post)

For the next part of our Jesus N Sports Interview series, I called up a great college football player as well as a great brother in Christ. He is going to be a redshirt junior at Virginia Tech this fall. He is also expected to be one of the top Heisman candidates this season as well a projected top five-top ten pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

His name is Logan Thomas. Logan started his career in Blacksburg as a backup to Tyrod Taylor. 2011 was Logan’s breakout year. He completed about sixty percent of his passes, threw for over 3,000 yards and nineteen touchdowns. But, what makes Thomas special at his position is that he is a dual-threat quarterback. He also ran for 469 yards and eleven touchdowns. He can make plays with both his arms and legs. This is why he is a Heisman Finalist and is working on leading the Hokies to great things in 2012.

When conducting this interview, I felt truly blessed to have ten-fifteen minutes of Logan’s fellowship. As you read the Q+A that we had, I hope you are all as encouraged as I was reading this interview. I know I say that a lot, but talking with all these athletes has given me great encouragement to keep striving for the Gospel and running the race! I hope and pray this leads you along that path as well:

1. First off, how did you come to know the Lord?

L: When I was young, it was in my family. I was raised by my grandparents and I went to church every day. They have been together for 47 years now. I was saved when I was five years old thanks to my grandparents.

2. Who have been your role models along your walk with Christ both on and off the field?

L: My main role model has been my grandmother. She calls me twice a week and reminds me to pray every day. On the field, never really had a role model till Kevin Durant who is not afraid to show his faith.

    3. What is your favorite Bible Verse or the Bible Verse that best exemplifies your walk with Christ?

L: Psalm 23 – Every day is a struggle, every day is a fight. With God’s help, the day will go by easier and He will always have your back.

4. Logan, do you think religion and sports can co-exist in today’s locker rooms? Talk about some of the fellowship you have had with teammates at Virginia Tech.

L: Religion and sports can co-exist. Guys in our locker room are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. We do share time every Friday where a group of guys who are saved have a chapel. We have speakers come in and tell stories. Last year, before the Marshall game, we had a guest speaker tell the story and a lot of his brothers got saved. It was one of the most joyous Friday nights of my life.

5. If a teammate came up to you and asked about your faith, what would you say?

L: First, How well do you know Christ? God has always been there for me and you even if you don’t know Him. You never know what kind of struggle you are going through. Many people blame God for struggles, but they do not know God can pull out of them. They will see how God is working in my life. You tell them about the Bible and to read the books and you tell them how to be saved. We have a team chaplain, so I would take a brother on my team under my wing and be there for him. Our team chaplain has been a blessing for all of us. His name is Johnny Shelton and he has helped me in my walk drastically.

6. You guys just finished up spring practices. How is the team looking so far?

L: We are looking pretty good. Our offense and defense will be stronger than we are last year. Guys are clicking on all cylinders. We have more seniors that know what they are doing and are ready to step up. Questions about our tailback, but the tandem/trio can make up for the loss of David Wilson. Our goal is a division championship, then an ACC Championship, and hopefully a National Championship.

7. My last question is what is it like to play for Coach Beamer?

L: It’s an honor to play for Coach. He is a great guy, he is not afraid to let you come in his office and that is how the whole coaching staff is.

We at Jesus N Sports wish Logan and the Virginia Tech Hokies the best of luck in 2012!

Photo Credit: @RennieCurran53

Earlier this week, I called up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ linebacker Rennie Curran for an interview. I have to say it was a great experience to talk to Rennie and hear about his faith. Let me give you some background on Rennie.

Curran is 23 years old and played college at the University of Georgia. He was an All-American in 2008 and a first-team All-SEC linebacker in 2009. He was drafted in the third round by the Tennessee Titans in 2010 and now he is working with Tampa Bay this season. Now, the Bucs have a new man at the helm in former Rutgers’ head coach Greg Schiano. After last year’s disappointing season, the team is determined with their signing of Vincent Jackson at wide receiver to make an impact in the NFC South this year.

With that, here is my conversation with Rennie Curran. I hope you all are blessed from reading this conversation like I was listening to it:

1. How did you come to know the Lord?

R: I came to the Lord through a believing family. My mother went to church. When you grow up around it, it becomes important. It has and still is part of his morals and beliefs. There are things that I went through, but going to the Lord helps me to overcome them.

2. Who have been some of your role models that have helped to encourage you on your walk?

R: My family and my parents. They made something out of nothing. Their work ethic was crucial. My role models in the NFL today would be Ray Lewis and Justin Tuck. Also,  my little league football  coach was like the 2nd father to me. Finally, my teammates because of the encouragement they give me on and off the field .

3. If you had to pick a verse that has exemplified your walk with Christ, what would it be and why?
A. Phillippians 4:13. Whatever I go through good or bad, I know Jesus is always with me. It gives me a boost of strength whenever my body is tired or whenever something overwhelms me.

4. Talk about the fellowship you have had with other Christians whether it be in the Buccaneers’ locker room or any locker room in the past.  Can religion and sports co-exist in today’s world?

R: Definitely, I just left church with one of my teammates. It keeps us encouraged in our sports and faith. You are going to go through trials and get beat down, but you have got to have your faith. You will have the bad day, but you have to realize not every day is going to be a good day. You need to know everything is alright and being with teammates who know the Lord helps you feel accountable. The chaplain helps us with that as well. It keeps you along that walk and helps to pick each other up.

5. If you met a person/teammate that was looking for Christ, what would you say to them?

R: I would invite him out to church, it’s the right mindset and that we have to push him towards that goal. I would also encourage him to learn about the faith and give him some Bible verses that helped to encourage me on my walk.

6. How have OTA’s been so far under new coach Greg Schiano?

R: They have been good. It’s been a learning process. It’s a process where you are getting evaluated every single day. I have just been trying to go out and show coaches why I am here and what I am capable of. Each day is a new challenge and you build that camaraderie in the right direction in every way. I have just been thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization.

7. What are you looking to improve on your game during these workouts?

R: Every aspect! You have to take care of the little things (technique, footwork, pass drops). Whatever aspects help the leadership of a football team and fix it both on the practice field and film room to have the playbook in the back of your head by the training camp.

8. What can we expect from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year?

R: We expect to be the best team in the NFL. Everyone is staying focused and OTA’s have been a good time. Everybody is serious and dedicated about it and hopefully it will pay dividends by training camp. Coach Schiano’s philosophy and principles of being accountable and having guys stretch together bring a new culture to the team that everyone is buying in. Hopefully, that will translate to wins.

We wish Rennie and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the best of luck in the 2012 NFL season!

You can also follow Rennie on Twitter: @RennieCurran53