Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Detroit Lions' Godwin Igwebuike walks by faith, says God told him he'd be switched to running back

Godwin Igwebuike has had to fight to stay in the NFL ever since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent safety out of Northwestern in 2018. But after a brief stint in 2020 in the now-defunct XFL, he’s currently with his fifth NFL franchise, the Detroit Lions, and he believes God has orchestrated an opportunity to extend his football career with a position switch to running back.

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“No [kidding], I was just in my spirit praying to the Lord and He’s like, ‘Yo, you’re going to be playing running back,'” Igwebuike told the media Saturday. “I’m like, ‘Yo, Lord, like chill out. There’s no way. Maybe I’ll play semi-pro somewhere, play running back.’ But He’s like, ‘You’re going to play running back.’ I’m like, ‘All right Lord, we’ll see what happens.'”

Igwebuike said he sensed God’s guidance last year, when he was on a late-night walk around his family’s farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio, near Pickerington, where Igwebuike is from. Still, he had his doubts.

But then the Lions signed Igwebuike to a reserve/futures contract as a safety in January. About two weeks before camp started in July, first-year head coach Dan Campbell called him to ask if he’d be willing to switch from safety to running back. He hadn’t played the position since high school, but he quickly agreed.

Igwebuike only saw one carry for no yards in the Lions’ first preseason game against the Bills. However, in the second game against the Steelers, Igwebuike had a team-high seven carries for 21 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s 26-20 loss.

“Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Never played running back post-high school and he comes in and you can see how bad he wants it,” Lions quarterback David Blough told the media. “He’s the last guy on the field every day working.”

Detroit’s final preseason game is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. ET against the Indianapolis Colts. Igwebuike is expected to see substantial action in what could be his best opportunity to earn a roster spot with another strong performance.

“I’ve just been walking by faith and not by sight, even when it felt like I wouldn’t get the call again, just like, ‘Yo, we’re going to keep pushing,'” he said. “There’s a vision there, I’m going to keep pressing in. … I have a lot to prove still as a running back, as a special teamer. Just trying to grow and be consistent.

“I haven’t reached any pinnacle by any means, so for me it’s just doing the same thing I’ve been doing, showing up every day to work, grind and just continue to walk by faith.”

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

Igwebuike, 26, posts frequently about his faith on his Instagram account, where he calls himself a “friend of God” in his bio.

 

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A post shared by Godwin Igwebuike (@akagodwin)

He also posts frequently about a faith-based community art event he organizes called the Favor Farms Festival, which highlights local artists in central Ohio who use their talents to glorify God. It has occurred each of the past two years at the family farm, and at each event, Igwebuike has been one of the singers. The farm also hosts monthly worship nights.

 

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A post shared by Godwin Igwebuike (@akagodwin)

This year’s Favor Farms Festival was held in July, with $5,000 going to the Pickerington Youth Athletic Association (PYAA).

“A young man from Pickerington is trying to pump a positive message to the community,” PYAA Commissioner Beth Andrews told the Columbus Dispatch in June. “Here he is playing pro football, but he’s still thinking of how it all began, playing PYAA.

“He’s paying it forward. He’s a special human being.”

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