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Sunday, January 6, 2008

football and Phillips

Hi. First of all, a couple of articles about 49ers defensive linebacker Patrick Willis, a Christian, who won The Associated Press 2007 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award last week. Here's a quote from him about it in the first article:

"The good Lord has blessed me with skills that are uncommon, but are just something that I do naturally," he said. "I also know I couldn't do it by myself, without help from my fellow linebackers or that D-line. Knowing that, I just stay humble. Whether it's in the movies or whether it's in real life, you see guys that got bigheaded, and they're in for a rude awakening."

Here's the article:

Here's the second article about Willis, which goes into more detail:;_ylt=AtW.1imYba4V8xBeEGMuwnc5nYcB?slug=ap-nfldefensiverookie&prov=ap&type=lgns.

Next, an article about Seahawks runningback Shaun Alexander, a Christian, and how he's been willing to share time at runningback to help the team, for now. Here's a quote about that from Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren:

"You've all seen it ... you can go to other sports - typically in this situation, that player, an MVP player, (causes) some sort of problem," Holmgren said. "There's something that comes up that's not very healthy for your football team. Someone's mad.

"None of that has taken place. And that's a real credit to the young man, I think. Because he's used to playing a lot. He's used to being the man, and now his role has changed."

Here's the article: (originally found at:

Here's a good article about Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith, a Christian, who plays tonight in the GMAC Bowl against Bowling Green. Here's a couple of good quotes about him from Tulsa head coach Todd Graham, also a Christian:

Tulsa coach Todd Graham learned the full impact of quarterback Paul Smith on his program when he was on a recruiting trip in southern Oklahoma and heard a prospect bragging.

Not about Smith's record-setting numbers as the school's leading passer. Not about the way he directed Tulsa's confusing spread attack that led the nation in total offense.

"I've seen your quarterback," the player told Graham. "He was basically preaching down here and doing praise music."

That's the hidden aspect to the triple threat Smith has brought the Golden Hurricane in a remarkable career: a strong arm, good enough wheels and a big heart.

"Just the impact that had on him and just how impressed he was with that, just how he represents our university has been remarkable," Graham said.

"And then you combine all the intangibles he has -- the character, the discipline, his faith -- you combine that with the fact that he is a phenomenal football player."

The combination won Smith the Wuerffel Award, which honors one college football player each year for community service work in addition to great performances in the classroom and on the field.

Smith, who graduated last month with a 3.84 grade-point average, makes frequent speaking engagements as president of the campus Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and also has mixed in visits to soup kitchens and other service work along with passing for a school-record 4,753 yards this season. ...

And what will help Smith's legacy linger is his heart. After all, Graham had to explain to his disappointed 5-year-old son, Michael, why Smith wouldn't be around after this season. The two have become friends as Smith stuck around after practice to play with him and carted him around when the Golden Hurricane were on the road.

It was a role reversal for Smith, who remembers tagging along when his father, Ron, was the offensive coordinator on a state championship football team whose players treated Smith like family.

"I remember the ones that took time to talk to me. I always kind of made that commitment to myself to always make time," Smith said.

Time for faith, family, football and plenty more.

"He's incredible. He's got a gift," Graham said. "I think that's what makes him so great. He knows that the good Lord has blessed him with the talents that he has, and he really stays grounded and really stays humble in his approach.

"Man, he's a winner too, though. You say all those nice things about him, but he's intense. He's a competitor."

Here's the article:

Also, an article about Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom, a Christian, who's trying to take his team to the next level after leading them to their first bowl game in years. Here's a quote from him about it:

Croom is more convinced than ever that State can make a run for the title, despite the fact the Bulldogs have the second-smallest athletic budget in the SEC.

"My daddy was a minister and he used to preach a sermon, 'Use what you got,'" Croom said. "That's always stuck with me. There's no use crying about what you don't have.

"If you're going to be in this race, you better run to win. If you are in this SEC football business, you've got to decide. Are you going to run to win? Or are you just going to give in? I came here to win."

Here's the article: (originally found at:

Here's an article about former Yankees 1st baseman Andy Phillips, a Christian, signing a minor league contract with the Reds last week:

Lastly, a great article about LSU tackle Ciron Black, a Christian, and his relationship with 8-year-old Mikey Conger. Conger is battling cancer-related problems at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and the two connected through LSU football. Someone sent Black an e-mail about Conger. Conger used to wear #70 when he was healthy enough to play football, which just happens to be Black's number at LSU. Black then posted this message on Conger's website:

Hey Michael, " the note began, "I recently saw your story and wanted to have the honor to write in your guest book. My name is Ciron Black. " ...

"I am the left tackle for the LSU Tigers football team. I'm also number 70 and I saw you wearing that jersey number, that's a great number by the way :). You know some people see us as heroes because of how we play but the truth is people like yourself are the real heroes. I see all the small problems I face are nothing compared to the hardships that you may go through. God has a plan for all of us and for some reason he put it on my heart to write you tonight. If it is at all possible I would love to talk to you. My number is ***-**** anytime, day or night, if you need someone to talk to. Hang in there buddy and just know that anything is possible through Christ."

Your friend, Ciron Black

P.S. I would love to write your name on my wrist tape as I get ready to take the field on Jan. 7th for the national championship. Let me know if that is OK.

Black and the Congers then became friends. Unfortunately, Conger is not doing well, with LSU's big game in the national championship game against Ohio State tomorrow night. Here's another quote about Black:

Ciron said his character was molded by his parents, Sandra and Ronnie, both whom are preachers. Missing church was never an option, he said. Sometimes he had to be pushed in school but, when it came to getting into trouble, Ciron was never a problem.

Here's the article:;_ylt=AlcVTFyD9b5jhTJcEO9H3MA5nYcB?slug=jn-ciron010508&prov=yhoo&type=lgns.

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