Christians in the NFL – Lessons Learned from Colt McCoy – Cleveland Browns


This is the third entry in my blog series on Christian Football Players.  Today’s subject – Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
Colt was a record setting NCAA quarterback, a star in the making, a Heisman Candidate, and according to most prognosticators,  a early draft pick in the NFL.  He lived up to much of the hype, delivering the Texas Longhorns into the Championship game.  I remember watching the game and hoping that the Longhorns would walk away victorious in the game.  Then I saw a hit on McCoy, and next thing I notice, he is being escorted out of the game, off the field and into the dressing room to be evaluated.  That  was all he would play in this game.  His team would lose the championship and McCoy didn’t even get to really play in the game.
Some questions may have begun to creep in. 

Is this really how the season, and his college career was supposed to end?   How serious is his injury?  Will it affect where he is drafted?  Will he be drafted at all?  Will he play at the level he expects to at all anymore? 

Read more of the account and what was going on in his mind at this article that McCoy wrote himself.  I found it at faithinthegame. You can also read about his life in the NFL in this article from Sharing the Victory Magazine

Well, that night didn’t work out like McCoy wished,  I am sure. But he did get drafted and began his career in the NFL.  He even took over the starting job as a rookie, which was not expected, and remains at the top of their depth chart. 

A couple things that came to my mind as I looked at his story in the articles above. 

1- Faith grows through trials – I know this isn’t a deep thought, but when partnered with the idea that life is going to be hard and that “in everything you do, do as unto the Lord” that I shared in my last post,  that means in how we deal with failure and struggle, too.  I was challenged by this paragraph from the STV story.

“In a personal rock-bottom moment, experiencing deep physical and emotional pain, Colt McCoy met God where He was at work—not where McCoy thought He should be. Instead of praising Christ while holding a trophy like he’d hoped, the battered quarterback stood in front of a national TV audience in a postgame interview and told the nation, “God’s in control of my life and, if nothing else, I’m standing on the Rock.”

It is so easy to play the blame game when things go bad.  We say that this isn’t right, or thin that this can’t possibly be God’s will.  But in that moment, there wasn’t a hint of this in what he said.  He understood that this situation wasn’t more than God could handle.  He also knew that God was with Him and would be all that he needed.

2- God faithfully carried McCoy through to an NFL career.  Colt stepped in and took over the starting QB job in his rookie year.  He said
 “It was tough jumping into a huddle with guys who were older—who had families and kids. It was a challenge in and of itself telling them what play we were running and how we were going to do it, but to get on them when we weren’t doing well and praise them when we were was another thing.”
We’ve seen it before –  a young player steps into a role of leadership.  It requires great care, humility, and awareness of others, while at the same time, exuding confidence enough that others will follow your lead and buy into what you are saying. 
Timothy may have felt the same thing.  He was a young apprentice to Paul while Paul was travelling all over (when he was not in prison).  It is an inspiring story to see young Timothy grow into his leadership role and lead the churches (filled no doubt with people who were older than he) on their spiritual journey. 
But maybe, Timothy, like McCoy, found it hard to be in a position of leadership over these older men in the church.  Paul gives him great advice which is there to both encourage and challenge Timothy in his role.  1 Timothy 4.12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity. 
What a call to action.  Paul is saying – God has put you in this place, and has equiped you to lead.  Stay true to what you know, remain humble, and lead confidently.  God is with you and will be glorified through your example. 

1 Timothy 4.12 is the theme verse for the 5th and 6th grade youth group I lead.  We desire to instill in these young people the confidence to be who God created them to be, and to live life for Him starting now.  Others will notice, and will be challenged to live their lives for Christ, too. 
Fifth and Sixth grade ministry is a passion of mine.  I will share more on working with this age in the future in this blog.  My hope and prayer for them is that they will grasp that living a life for Christ is a choice that they can make today, and live out for the rest of their lives.  God wants to use them to accomplish His goals.

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