Athlete Profiles:

Chad Pennington

He may be breaking out some freestyle rap in the locker room or banging helmets with teammates as he talks seriously to them. Either way, people respond well to Chad Pennington. He's become a leader.

But his professional career did not start out exactly as he'd envisioned. His adjustment to the pros from college football at Marshall was a slow one. Pennington stood on the sidelines watching others taking off...but he wasn't ready to fly.

"The Lord puts you in situations that might be tough...that test your patience, your self-confidence, you as a person," says Pennington. He was able to look at his circumstances from a spiritual perspective because of a relationship with Christ that started in grade school. His father Elwood says, "The greatest gift I could give my kids was to introduce them to Jesus Christ."

Pennington now leads not only on the field but in his Christian walk by practicing what he's preaching. He tries to be selfless, just as Christ was. If possible, he'd spend hours sitting at the apostle Paul's feet, soaking up his teachings. He strives to live by Philippians 1:21.

At one time, Chad Pennington wasn't ready to fly; now God has given him wings to soar.

Find Profiles

First Name By Letter

Or By Name

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?

Uncommon Challenge