"The first Superbowl championship was held in 1967. Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35 to 10."

Darren Sharper – Faith and Football

What role has gospel music played in your career as an athlete?

I had a chance to listen to gospel music a lot when I went to church in my childhood as a fan. I have continued to listen to gospel music throughout my career, especially before games as it would always tend to calm me down and release all my anxieties.  Listening to gospel music and the words it expressed, always gave me a sense of real life that there is something always bigger out here than the game of football and that I should never be afraid of going out on the field on game day and failing. Instead, every time I got out there I had an opportunity to be successful, do my best and do what I loved doing knowing God is always beside me.

How has church influenced your life?

I was raised in the church and my parents made sure that we were there every Sunday along with Bible Study which had me in church at least two times per week throughout my childhood. That pretty much made me out to be the man I am today.

What do you find most inspirational about Gospel music and church?

I find that gospel music and church gives me the inspiration that gives you the kind of energy and the type of feeling that I have not been able to get with any other type of music I listen to or event that I have attended. To be able to fellowship with others who have similar beliefs gives you this type of strength I have not been able to find with any other type of music and no where else but in Church.

Explain why it is important for faith and football to work together. Why is it that you personally believe God is important in your life and your career.

My faith is what has allowed me to be successful in my football career. The fact is that I was raised in the Church and the One word I have lived by is “Perseverance”. When I was going through certain struggles in my football career, I had to lean on God and know that regardless of the outcome or my performance on game day I was still a success and able to use my football platform to touch others. I also realized that I did not have to rely on my performance on the field only to make a difference for others, I am still able to do great things on and off the field.

Give specific examples of why you feel God is important to you and your career.

Well, He is the reason I am here. He has provided me with the ability to do what I love and has continued to protect me every time I stepped out on that field. I truly believe that I would not have had this level of success and been able to play fourteen years in the NFL , without any serious injuries, if it was not for the fact that God was watching over me. I truly believe that I am a child of God and know that God was there molding me. God put me in certain situations in my career that built my strength, character and humility which has allowed me to attain the success that I have been able to achieve in my career. Now, I really appreciate what I had to go through to get this far.

Here you can mention any hurdles you have overcome, and how God helped you through those hurdles.

My first three to four years in the NFL were not easy……….
My struggles in the beginning years, while I was trying to make my mark in my career were tough. Maybe Not being a Star, Not being a Player, not being able to be in the NFL? I really leaned on God and my faith and knew that I was here for a reason. I was in the NFL for a reason. I needed to understand that I need to be able to TRUST my abilities. I really went back to my roots, and said I would have never been in this position and given these opportunities if God did not have a plan for me. I knew I had to stop worrying so much and just go out there and play football. That was really when I started to trust myself and started playing to the best of my abilities. This was also around the time I went out and got my “Perseverance” tattoo on my arm.

  • Sarena Watkins

    “Powerful recognition of God.”