Athlete Profiles:

Josh Bidwell

Josh Bidwell, the rookie punter, was sky high after landing his dream job in the National Football League. He was about to learn that his very life was up in the air. Just eleven days before his 1999 debut with the Green Bay Packers he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Bidwell was the picture of health during training camp, but his condition quickly deteriorated.

A second surgery and months of aggressive chemotherapy melted 40 pounds off his 6-foot-3 frame. "My prayer was for the pain and the discomfort that I was going through and for the people around me to see God's strength in me," he says. "I never asked God, 'Why me?' because I'm just a firm believer that every situation we're given is for His glory and His honor."

After recovery, Bidwell capitalized on four solid seasons in Green Bay by signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay. Last year he set a Tampa Bay franchise record with a 45.6-yard punting average en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Bidwell's world revolves around God, who enabled him to survive cancer and embrace a career he had only imagined. The veteran punter is sky high.

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Tim Tebow

As the current quarterbacks for the last two national championship teams, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow have taken center stage in two of the most intensely scrutinized college football programs in America. Even as sophomores, this concept is not lost on McCoy and Tebow. They know they are being watched. They also know that with the immediate access they have to so many people, the opportunities to be a model and a spokesperson for Jesus Christ are preeminent. "In some places it's not the cool thing to do or the popular thing to be and God is not No. 1," says McCoy.

Tebow and McCoy were both hatched from close-knit, deeply Christian upbringings that saw them come to faith at an early age. Tim Tebow's fater, Bob Tebow, heads the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which claims to be the conduit of close to 9 million people coming to faith in Christ in the last 8 years.

An NFL career is a goal for both of these young quarterbacks, but they are realistic enough to know there are no guarantees. McCoy looks forward to what God has in store. "God willing, I'd like to be in the NFL, but the important thing to do is His will."

Shaun Alexander

Whether Shaun Alexander spends his Sunday morning wearing a football jersey on a field or a suit in a pew, he's the same guy. "Shaun is a Christian 24/7," says close friend and teammate Mack Strong. "He's a great example. It's a testimony to him, to God."

Alexander has made a lasting name for himself in the NFL. The accomplishments and praises he's received are only dreams for many. He's not surprised by his success; he's always set lofty goals and worked hard. Now he's a household name, but he says, "This is no time to say, 'Look at me.'" That's because, for Alexander, it's not just about football. "I play football to make a difference in people's lives."

The difference he wants to make is a difference for Christ. He has a heart for providing hope, especially for youth, and giving to others as unto the Lord. That's the purpose of his foundation and the community center he started with his brother. "You can't outgive God," he says.

The best day in his life? Being valedictorian of his graduating class? Setting NFL records? Becoming 2005 MVP? No. "It was the first time I led someone to Christ," says Alexander. What else would we expect?

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