Ryan Quigley knows punting. He excelled at it in High School and in college. Eight years of excelling on the football field but as you can read in this Sports Spectrum article, there he was, out of football for the first time in almost a decade. He had been invited as an undrafted free-agent to the Chicago Bears camp, and made the roster out of camp to start the 2012 season, but he was waived early in the season without appearing in a game.
So what did Quigley do when life didn’t go as he hoped? He put all his effort into getting better. He had a strict workout regiment that he followed closely. Along the way there was the ongoing debate – “‘Will I get that shot? Do I even deserve that shot?’ For me, it was all about being ready when that call comes, if it comes.”
He did work hard to keep himself ready and hoped for another chance – one that would not come for the entire season. In the midst of this year, Quigley also found a connection with God. He began attending a Bible Study with Josh McCown who had also been cut by the Bears around the same time. (and whose brother Luke, I blogged about a couple weeks ago). So as he worked out to keep himself fit and ready, he also dived into reading his Bible and growing in his faith. He says “I was finally able to sit back and be like, this is me right now. I’m going to try to improve my game, and try to figure out my faith…That was really where God kind of entered my life. Took away all the pressure, all the stress. Just gave me peace and security. Living in the moment, rather than thinking so far ahead into the future, knowing that He has a plan…I’m still trying to figure it out, and I don’t think I’ll ever figure it all out. But that’s how great God’s love and grace is, impossible to fully understand. It’s a good feeling.”
His chance at football would come. The Jets signed him, taking him away from his final weeks of school before finishing his degree. You can read here about his call to the Jets and finishing his degree. He would appear in 14 games for the Jets in 2013 and played 2 more seasons with them as well. But they didn’t bring him back after last season. He signed with the Eagles in the off-season, but was cut a month later. He signed with the Jaguars and went through training camp with them before being cut at the end of camp.
And with Drew Butler on the shelf for a few weeks Quigley has a chance to play for the Cardinals. Quigley is hoping to make the most of his chance with the Cardinals and looking to either stretch this chance longer or catch on with another team. Either way, he is trusting God to lead and confident that God is with him.
Here are my takeaways from Quigley’s story:
1- Methodical Training – Quigley was out of football for a year after the Bears cut him. He settled in Charlotte to work out and keep himself ready for another chance. But in this time, he also sought to grow in his faith in God. I love the picture of Quigley growing in his game and in his faith at the same time. I like it because faith is like a muscle. The more you work in it, the stronger it gets. God gives us lots of chances to trust him when our plans don’t seem to be working out. As we trust him and our faith is put into action, we will see that He is faithful all the time. And our faith in Him will grow. Quigley was very methodical in his workouts and in his time spent with God. That is a challenge for each of us as well. Let’s make spending time with God a priority and allow Him to grow our faith as we see Him prove faithful
2- Impossible to Completely Understand – Quigley shared that as his faith grew, he knew that there were things about God that he didn’t understand, but that didn’t deter him. Instead, it gave him a desire to know more. We will never understand everything about God and that is comforting. If little old me could figure out God, then He would not be very impressive. But He is a mystery and works things out in His perfect way every time. And while we won’t completely understand God, it is great getting to know Him more and more and seeing the ways that He shows up in our circumstances will encourage us to keep seeking Him.