Sports

Faith and Football: The testimony of Philly’s new quarterback

     On April 28, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the following words announcing Philadelphia’s first pick in the NFL draft: “With the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Carson Wentz, quarterback, North Dakota State.” The six-foot five-inch 237-pound quarterback had finally made it in professional football. At first, he was unknown to all of us, having grown up in North Carolina, moving to North Dakota at the age of three and playing his college career at North Dakota State University (that’s right, North Dakota State University, an FBS school). After being redshirted his first year, he played all four years after that, winning national championships in all four seasons, including the season he was redshirted. Yet his maturity as a quarterback grew with the years. When it came to NFL draft night, many analysts had him taken only midway through the first round. Then Philly came calling, and the rest was history.

     However, many do not know that Wentz is a devout Christian. In whatever he does, he never forgets the One who allows him to seize the moment.

     “Faith has always been number one in my life,” Wentz says. “I think my faith throughout college made me patient as I waited my turn. It got me through my injury without a doubt. And throughout this process, it helped me to not let this thing blow up and get caught up in it all.”

Jan 9, 2016; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the FCS Championship college football game at Toyota Stadium. North Dakota State won the championship 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2016; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the FCS Championship college football game at Toyota Stadium. North Dakota State won the championship 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

     Even through the tough times, he stood firm to what God was calling him to do. That was never more relevant than in the days leading up to the NFL draft. Scouts hardly gave him a look when he was still studying at North Dakota State. But, seemingly out of nowhere, Philadelphia became interested and took a risk on the quarterback who had no experience at the FBS level. Wentz stood firm and gave his all for God. On the underside of his right wrist, he has a tattoo that reads, “AO1,” which stands for “Audience of One.” This is Wentz’s reminder to play only for the Lord.

     “It was kind of a motto I picked up early in my career, and I finally put it on my body just to live with the Lord as my audience,” Wentz says. “Whether it was playing football, going to school or whatever I’m doing in my life.”

     After learning about Wentz’s outspoken faith, one might question where he got his faith in God. That came from a fellow football teammate when Wentz was a first-year student at North Dakota State. Dante Perez, who was a senior at the time, asked Wentz about the Bible. This came after a series of questions about what happened at practice that day. Then, out of the blue, Perez asked Wentz if he read the Bible on a daily basis. Wentz told him that they were at a football practice, not a Bible study. But Perez was persistent, and eventually Wentz came to know the Lord through Perez’s testimony. Now, in whatever Wentz does, he makes sure he honors the One who gave him all he has. One of his favorite verses that he looks back to is Mark 9:23, which reads, “‘What do you mean, ‘If I can?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes’” (NLT).

     Carson Wentz, now three games into his NFL career, has put his trust in God to make his professional football dreams come true.

     Sources: denisonforum.org, wday.com

Image courtesy of nflhu.blog/The Waltonian
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