For several months in 2004, I felt God was telling me to come to Him. But I resisted until after the first Bible study Fred (Raines, a chaplain with AIA) had at training camp. I was excited to accept and follow Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I was tired of living the life that I was living. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I felt a fulfillment inside that I had been searching for.
I was very nervous of how my new faith would actually affect me on the football field. I had always played the game with a hate. I felt I had to go out and play with this anger to be successful.
As a Christian, I am thinking, I can’t really play with hate, anger and rage and still be successful. I was the middle linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and was known for [being] rough, tumble and physical. How am I going to do this and serve Christ in a manner that is pleasing to Him?
It’s amazing -- not only did my life improve, but also my game improved. Training camp is the toughest part for a football player. But I never got tired and I was staying up until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. reading the Bible. I was gaining more knowledge and growing in my relationship with Christ.
I spent years chasing things I thought would bring me everlasting joy and happiness: chasing Super Bowl rings [I was fortunate to be a part of a Super Bowl with St. Louis in my second year] or a multi-million dollar contract; or a new house, cars and jewelry.
None of those things did for me what Christ did in an instant.
I grew up in a home where my grandmother had us in church. It was more of a routine to go. I would hear people talk about how Christ changes you, but I was skeptical. Then I felt that on the inside, it was a tremendous thing. I was living in the darkness for so long.
When I accepted Christ, my eyes were open; I wanted to shout and tell the world. I called and told my best friend—all the friends that I knew—that I had received Christ. I wanted them to really experience the joy that I felt.
I was so thirsty, I really wanted to experience all that God wanted to give me. I didn’t just want to keep the relationship I had with the Lord on the inside. I wanted it to be an outward expression as well, and that’s why I was excited about getting baptized that following week.
I encourage you today that if you already haven’t made the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior—don’t hesitate. Don’t be discouraged by someone else.