It hasn’t exactly been the smoothest ride for tight end Kendall Blanton since he broke into the NFL. He went undrafted in 2019 after five seasons at the University of Missouri, but signed with the Los Angeles Rams shortly after the draft. Since then, he’s been waived and re-signed three times and has served as a backup to starter Tyler Higbee when he’s been on the active roster.
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He’s thankful for it all, he said this week, because he trusts in God’s plan, and he’s enjoyed getting to learn from others while he’s waited for his opportunity. With Higbee possibly out for Super Bowl LVI after suffering an MCL injury during the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, Blanton could get his moment on Sunday as the presumed starting tight end.
His faith “means everything” to him, he said during his Super Bowl media session this week.
“When I sit here and really think about it, I get to crying on camera,” Blanton said. “I know God has brought me a long way. None of this would be possible without Him. Just the way things have been going, the way things have played out my entire life, you couldn’t have written this any better.”
This is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it #lookatGod
— KB🃏 (@TheKspecial_) February 3, 2022
Blanton is vocal about his faith on social media and often uses the hashtag #lookatGod with his posts. He said it’s a way to outwardly deflect the glory and attention off of him and onto God.
“I know that all of this stuff is orchestrated by Him, and everything that I do — my hashtag, my motto is ‘look at God,'” he said. “I never want to get big-headed. No matter how many plays I make and all those things, I don’t want people to look at me. I just know that I wouldn’t be here without God. So when I say ‘look at God,’ He gets all the attention and all the glory.”
Blanton came up big for the Rams in their 20-17 win over the 49ers in the NFC title game, catching five passes for 57 yards, including an important eight-yard reception on third-and-1 as the Rams were driving late in the fourth quarter. That drive set up what proved to be the game-winning field goal.
He caught his first career touchdown the previous week in a divisional-round win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and gave glory to God with an Instagram post about the play, using the hashtag #lookatGod.
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With Higbee being one of the more reliable and durable tight ends in the league until last Sunday’s injury, Blanton has spent most of his professional career on the Rams’ practice squad or in a backup role. He was elevated to the active roster in October and recorded his first career reception against the 49ers in a 31-10 loss in November. He finished the regular season with four receptions for 37 yards.
Higbee was third on the Rams this season in targets (85) and receiving yards (560), as well as during the postseason with 14 targets for 115 yards. If quarterback Matthew Stafford plans to utilize the tight end position similarly against the Bengals defense on Sunday, it could potentially be a big game for Blanton, who never caught more than four passes in a game in college.
He already has more targets (seven) and yards (75) in three postseason games than he did the entire regular season.
Whether he has a big game or not, he hopes people see Jesus in him, because he’s just thankful to have the opportunity.
“God means everything to me,” he said. “Without Him, there is none of this.”
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