Summer 2024

Former NFL coach Jim Caldwell says being fired has helped him study the Bible like never before

Jim Caldwell has been in football for more than 40 years. The former Colts and Lions head coach began his career as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Iowa in 1977. After stops at seven different collegiate programs, he began his NFL career in 2001 as an assistant coach under head coach Tony Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 2002, he followed Dungy to the Indianapolis Colts, where he was an assistant for eight seasons, including a Super Bowl title in 2006. After Coach Dungy retired in 2008, Caldwell took over as head coach of the Colts and led them to an AFC championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLIV before losing to the Saints, 31-17.

Caldwell was fired by the Colts after the 2011 season and after a stint as an assistant coach with Baltimore (and another Super Bowl title), he returned to the head coaching ranks in Detroit, where he led Detroit to playoff berths in 2014 and 2016. On January 1, 2018, Caldwell was fired by the Lions.

Now, after 40 years of being a football coach, Caldwell says he’s enjoying his time off.

“It’s really been a great transition for me,” Caldwell told Bryce Johnson on the “Unpackin’ It” podcast. “Forty-one years, I never missed a day of work. This is the first real break that I’ve gotten over an extended period of time. I’m taking advantage of it and enjoying it.”

Caldwell told Johnson that he recently returned from a trip to Israel, where walked the streets that Jesus walked and connected spiritually with the Holy Land.

“After you go to Israel, you’ll never read the Bible the same,” Caldwell said. “You have to experience it first-hand to really appreciate it. The highlight of the whole trip was getting baptized in the Jordan River. That was special.”

The time away from coaching has helped Caldwell dive into God’s Word in a way he hasn’t before.

“All of us who have been true followers of Christ have always studied the Bible, but now I get a chance to study it like I’ve never been able to study it before because I have time,” Caldwell shared. “Usually I’m studying it early in the morning before going into work or at my desk at work. Now, I get a chance to sit and really take everything in. Read different versions. That’s been really a lot of fun for me.”

You can listen to the entire interview with Jim Caldwell and Bryce Johnson on the “Unpackin’ It” podcast here.

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