Tebow, Bradford, McCoy benefit from mentors
Art Stricklin, Baptist Press
February 05, 2011

Tebow, Bradford, McCoy benefit from mentors

Tebow, Bradford, McCoy benefit from mentors
Art Stricklin, Baptist Press
February 05, 2011

DALLAS — The 2011 NFL season featured the appearance of

three highly touted quarterbacks, dedicated to honoring God with their

considerable ability.

Those who watched Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford in their first

professional year said Thursday at Super Bowl XLV media headquarters they came

away impressed with their ability and maturity.

Kurt Warner, who won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams and led the Arizona

Cardinals to the verge of another one before retiring, said he was thrilled to

see the faith-filled trio carrying on a Christian legacy.

“You always need standard-bearers to set the ground rules,” said Warner, who

wore a black and white T-shirt with the large word “Sanctify” on the back,

while making the rounds in the media center. “To the extent I was able to make

it easier for them, no matter if you’re talking about faith or football or

anything else, is great.”

After completing a stellar college football season, Bradford, from Oklahoma,

was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and almost led the Rams back to the

playoffs while starting at QB his first season.

Photo by Mickey Noah

Denver Bronco rookie quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow spoke to some 600 at a breakfast July 4, 2010, in Georgia. Tebow, the former Florida Gator, was a first-round pick of the Broncos and worked his way to starting position later in the season.

Tebow, the former Florida Gator, was a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos

and was able to start later in the year. McCoy, from Texas, wasn’t picked until

the third round by the Cleveland Browns, but also worked his way into the

starting lineup later in the season.

“I was pleased with where I was picked, because I know there is always a plan

and a purpose,” McCoy said Thursday in the media center. “I feel I’m in the

right place with the right team and the right opportunity. I’m convinced it

will work out for the best.”

He was married before his first NFL season in Cleveland and now lives in a

condo in Austin, Texas, during the offseason with his new wife, a graduate of

Baylor University. They still attend their college church.

Another Christian player, Dallas Cowboy All-Pro tight end Jason Witten, said

the experience of older spiritual players has made it easier for the young ones

to come along.

“You see some of the older guys like a Kurt Warner and a Jon Kitna set the bar

high for sharing their faith and being up front with what is important to them

and where they are in their faith,” he said.

Witten, who grew up attending First Baptist Church in Elizabethton, Tenn., and

currently attends Valley Ranch Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, said the

ability to share to a wide audience was what he was looking for in the

spotlighted rookies.

“I think they’re beginning to see how important it is to have the ability and

the platform to share in the NFL,” said Witten, who played at the University of


Bradford said he felt blessed to have a productive rookie season. He won the league’s

Offensive Rookie of the Year award, which was announced Friday.

“It’s been great this year,” he said. “I’m very excited for the future.”

Before their first NFL season started, the three players were spotlighted in a

unique sports book entitled “Playing for a Purpose,” which chronicled their

rise in faith and in sports, by author Mike Yorkey.

Warner said he has been keeping a close eye on the three Christian rookies this

year, e-mailing and texting McCoy and the others to encourage them in their

faith during the season.

“I’ve been there through that experience. I know what to expect,” Warner said.

Before he became a most unlikely star with the Rams, Warner said he learned

from Christian great Reggie White of the Green Bay Packers. Now, he’s hoping to

show the talented trio what they can do on, and most importantly, off the


“I’m happy to do it because it’s always an honor to talk about Jesus,” Warner

said. “I take inspiration from that and know it will always be awesome.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Stricklin is a Dallas-based sports correspondent.)

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