Fall 2022

Rams RB Sony Michel sets out to 'glorify God' no matter the circumstances

Three years ago, rookie Sony Michel played a big role in keeping the Los Angeles Rams from winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl since 1999. As the New England Patriots’ leading rusher, he took 18 carries for 94 yards and the only touchdown of Super Bowl LIII, and the Patriots won the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, 13-3.

Now, he’s the Rams’ leading rusher. And he’s back at the Super Bowl, this time hoping to play a big role for the Rams, who seek their second world title. They face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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In that strong rookie season, Michel finished the regular season with 931 yards and six touchdowns, then added 336 yards and six more touchdowns in three playoff games, setting a record for most postseason rushing TDs by a rookie. He followed that up by again leading the Pats in rushing in 2019, but battled injuries in 2020, missing seven games due to a quadriceps injury and COVID-19 issues.

He was healthy entering the 2021 season, but then was traded to L.A. late in the preseason. Starting running back Cam Akers had torn his Achilles right before training camp, so the Rams were looking for depth at running back.

Michel didn’t see the field much initially, starting only a Week 3 win over Tampa. But from Week 13 through L.A.’s wild-card win over Arizona, he was the lead back. And with 845 yards and four TDs on 208 carries, he ended the regular season as the team’s leading rusher.

Throughout the transition to a new team on the other side of the country, Michel said he has leaned on his faith in God.

“He’s been working tremendously,” Michel said during his media session this week when asked how God has been working in his life. “He’s been doing a lot of work in my life, I believe, this year, especially with my transition here to the Rams — not playing much in the beginning and trusting Him. Trusting my faith in Him and knowing that He put me in this position for a reason.

“Everything didn’t go my way. Sometimes a lot of people lose faith, but I kept my faith, stayed strong, just kept doing what He blessed me to do, and that’s come to work every day, put a smile on my face, bring great energy and come here to compete. And by me being able to do that, I got my opportunity at one point to be able to compete. I took advantage of it and I was able to glorify Him with that opportunity, just to show people, ‘With God, with Jesus Christ on your side, you could accomplish so much. Keeping faith, no matter what the circumstance is. No matter what kind of adversity comes your way, keeping your faith can take you so far, can get you over that hump.’ That’s kind of been my testimony this whole season.”

Akers incredibly returned from his injury in time for the regular-season finale, and he led the team in carries for that first playoff win. He then resumed his starting role for the divisional round and NFC championship game, thus diminishing Michel’s touches.

But whether he’s starting or backing up, Michel aims to be a good teammate — and always a “glory reflector.” He explained that term to Sports Spectrum in 2019 prior to his Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots.

“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 said 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 said in 2019. “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.”

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