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"JESUS WOULD HAVE MADE one heck of a linebacker. The implausibility of that statement didn't seem to bother the audience of 300 men. After all, these are men, and we're talking football here. They were riveted. And that's the point of a daylong seminar called Summer Training Camp, the brainchild of a Football League assistant coach who seeks to meet the spiritual needs of men by mixing in a little of what they know best. 'We call it four quarters of faith and football,' said LesSteckel, running backs coach for the Buffalo Bills who still lives near Nashville since a stint as offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. 'The purpose for doing this is to bring men together,' he said. 'There are a lot of men that are really lost.' . . .

"[Football Hall of Famer Raymond] Berry, who caught touchdown passes from Johnny Unitas for 13 seasons, talked about almost quitting his football career at its peak by comparing it to the Biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac. God ordered Abraham to [sacrifice] his son, then stopped him at the last second. Likewise, Berry decided to quit football after getting religion, only to find a holy reprieve. 'I was set free from worshiping a false God,' Berry said. 'There wasn't anything wrong with wanting to play football. It was wrong to put it in first place.' . . .

CHRISTIANITY on the move
August 4, 2003

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