ATLANTA — The New England Patriots expected production out of running back Sony Michel when they selected him No. 31 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. But he entered the NFL with knee concerns, and the Georgia product missed the first game of the regular season after undergoing a knee procedure in August.
So everyone was pleasantly surprised when Michel ended the season as the Patriots’ leading rusher. He appeared in 13 games, starting only eight, but totaled 931 yards on the season, with six touchdowns.
And he’s been even better in the playoffs. Michel took 24 carries for 129 yards and three touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round. He then collected a season-high 29 carries against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game, totaling 113 yards and two more touchdowns.
The rookie is a big reason New England finds itself in its third straight Super Bowl.
But at 23 years old with a strong faith in God, Michel says none of this — the stats, the hype, the Super Bowl — ultimately matters.
“Without Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, there is none of this,” Michel told Sports Spectrum on Thursday during the team’s Super Bowl media session. “We get all this glory, but the glory is not for us, it’s for Him. We do this for Him. That’s kind of my purpose. So really, none of this matters to me.”
New England’s director of team development and team chaplain, Jack Easterby, led the team in Bible studies this year focused on a theme of being “glory reflectors” — to reflect God’s glory, not their own glory. It’s an idea Michel aims to live out.
“Once I step out of the house, I want people to be able to see that God is working in my life,” Michel said. “It’s not me working, it’s not me doing the things that I do. It’s Him applying those things in my life … giving me the opportunity to be able to reach the next person, make an impact on the platform that I have. He gave me this platform so I can be able to make an impact and that’s what it’s all about. It’s just reflecting Him.”
Michel — who was raised in South Florida after his parents emigrated from Haiti a year after his older sister, Lamise, was born — praised God when he was drafted by New England.
GOD IS GOOD🙏🏾 #GoPats
— Sony Michel (@Flyguy2stackz) April 27, 2018
And he’s praising God at the end of his first season in the pros. Michel says the biggest lesson God taught him this season was about trust.
“No matter what you’re going to go through, you’ve got to trust Him,” Michel said. “He’s going to put you through some things, stuff you may think you can’t handle at times. But if you trust Him, you’ll get through it and you’ll see the light.”
Michel is being a light for Christ while under the bright lights of the NFL’s biggest game.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” — Matthew 5:16
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