The Philadelphia Eagles NFL team has managed to do something not many other professional teams are doing: Many players are have forged a bond through their spirituality.
Religious players are pretty common in the league, but for many of these players, they live out their lives and faiths together—going as far as being baptized by a teammate in the team’s recovery pool at the practice facility.
Chase Daniel, a quarterback for the team, hosts a Bible study for couples weekly, there’s a weekly Bible study that happens at the practice facility, as well as prayer sessions among the teammates the night before they play a game. Daniel told ESPN: “This is by far the most spiritual team I’ve been on.”
Trey Burton, who is a tight end on the team and the team pastor, believes that his faith in God has played a role in him being able to heal from injuries, as recently as the beginning of this season.He injured his calf and doctors told him that he would miss several weeks of play.
I had a couple guys here lay hands on me and pray on me and then I went home and had my wife and my kids and one of our pastor friends come and lay their hands on me, and immediately I woke up the next morning and I was totally fine.
He only missed one game.
The players who are of faith are careful not to berate their other team members with religion.
“We can’t just take Bibles and slap them across people’s heads and think they’re going to want to join and learn more about Christianity,” Jordan Matthews, a receiver on the team, told ESPN.
Mychal Kendricks was one of the five players baptized by Burton. He had taken part in the prayer group and says he never read the Bible, but was encouraged to get baptized as an acknowledgment of his faith in Christ and he did.
He talked to ESPN about God’s work in his life:
You look at the outside world and where some of us have come from and where our family and friends are or what we’re able to do with the sport that we love, with helping people, being in a position to hold platforms that help others or enlighten others, or just make someone’s day. There is some weight to it. And it’s a blessing. And you ask yourself, why? There are a million guys on the street right now that can do the same thing I can do, but I’m here right now because I’m supernatural in my thinking and supernatural in the way I feel. And when you’re passionate about something and you can feel it in your heart and your soul, that energy radiates outwards … and that’s the power of God right there. That’s something that is to be looked at.