Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

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A year ago I had a wonderful interview with  Tim Shaw, a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans. I recorded our conversation and also wrote down notes from it. The problem after we talked, my phone went on the berserk and I lost our conversation. So I want to apologize to Tim for this post because it doesn’t really share the full passion that Tim has for Christ in his life. This is my interview with Tim as he shared his heart with me about his faith, football and his passion for both.

Shaw was the 2001 Michigan Gatorade Player-of-the-Year while playing tailback and linebacker for coach Greg Hudkins at Clarenceville High School in Livonia, Michigan.

At the time of his graduation, he held the Michigan high school records for career rushing yards (7,611) and career touchdowns (131), records since surpassed by East Grand Rapids High School‘s Kevin Grady.

He earned 11 letters in football, basketball and track and field. He was the Michigan state 100-meter dash champion his junior year. n January 27, 2010, the USA Today announced that Shaw had made its All-Joe Team, honoring the NFL’s unsung and underrated players.

Tell me a little about yourself:

Tim: I was born in England and I still have family there. We moved to Michigan and I attended Penn State University. I attended Penn State and had the privilege to have Joe Paterno as my head coach. I chose to go to Penn State because it was different from the other colleges I visited on my recruiting trips. When I stepped on campus, the people were blue-collar and I just felt like I fit in there. He was drafted in 2007 in the 5th round by the Carolina Panthers.

Spiritual Journey In Life:

I was blessed to have a family who were very spiritual and Christ like. My grandparents set the example of Jesus who had a desire to follow God closely in their lives. That passion for Christ and to follow God was instilled in me at a young age and will be part of my life forever. Church camp and church was a big influence in my life as I started my own walk with Christ. The memories I have from them still inspire me today.

Went to college and made my own decision to go to church on Sunday mornings. No one told me I had to go to worship, I wanted to.

Who spiritually influenced you and influences you today:

My parents and grandparents influence my life spiritually. As a young person I was daily accountable for my actions and for my walk with Christ. I have had several spiritual mentors who helped me with my walk with Christ. Some of my amazing mentors are Tim McGill a chaplain who once  a week taught the bible to me and my teammates. Another guy who influenced me was Reggie Pleasant. I still meet with him today in Nashville, which is a Christ community.

The Titans have a team bible study and a chapel service the morning of every game.

Did you ever have to choose between faith and sports growing up:

I never had to choose between them because they went hand in hand with each other. I always had people around me encouraging me to give the glory to God for whatever I did in life.

Is it hard to be a Christian and play in the NFL:

There is defiantly plenty of temptations out there if you lose your focus. Like any other job it is hard to live that daily life. You can slip up by being as good as you want to be. You need to stand up to your peers and keep walking the walk.

Do your teammates know that you are a Christian:

I believe they do by the example I portray on and off the field.

How do you life your faith on the field:

The way I play at practice and in games by keeping guys in check, reading scripture, being a good teammate,showing good sportsmanship and by making an impact in their lives by encouraging them and helping out the young guys.

Are there other teammates who share your faith:

Absolutely! So far on every team I have been on there has been a solid group of guys who love Jesus. (Tim was on the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguar’s before coming to the Titans) I have some really good friends who have been good examples for me and others. Several of the Titans sever God with all their heart especially Matt Hasselbeck is a great leader and a strong believer.

Most powerful verse that has helped you with your walk:

Romans 10:9 – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Other comments:

One story: My dream was to play in the NFL, that dream came true and I was drafted by the Panthers. I thought now I’m here  and it’s going to be great. I thought that now I can live life and get married but I was cut after my rookie season. I wasn’t picked up for 3 months and needed to trust and rely on God. It was a critical time in my life but God helped me through it and now it really worked out for me with the Titans.

He shared his heart with me during our conversation.  Tim is a godly man who shares his heart for Jesus and is very passionate about his walk with him. You can follow him on twitter or be his friend on facebook and you can see his love for Christ and for others. Tim has inspired me by his encouraging comments, thoughts and lifestyle. He is a great player for the Titans and even a greater man of God. Take some time next season to watch the Titans play and watch number 59 smile has he tackles an opposing player.

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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