Chiefs star Nick Bolton grateful for growth as 'follower of Christ' ahead of Super Bowl

Nick Bolton was preparing for the NFL draft when the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Kansas City took the former University of Missouri linebacker and two-time first-team All-SEC selection in the second round less than three months later.

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Now Bolton is getting ready to serve as a team captain in the Super Bowl just two seasons into his NFL career.

Bolton immediately became a crucial part of the Chiefs’ defense, setting the franchise rookie record with 112 tackles.

He took his game to another level this season by breaking the franchise record with 180 tackles, which was good for second in the NFL. Bolton recorded 14 more tackles and a fumble recovery in Kansas City’s two playoff games.

This season also saw Bolton take over play-calling duties as the defensive player able to communicate with the sideline. He gave glory to God before the season for putting him in that position.

“God presented this opportunity to go out here and play football — and so I’m just going to take advantage of it,” he said in September. “I kind of see it as an opportunity to go out here and play football. I’ve been doing it since I was young, and so it’s getting confidence from these guys to come in every single day and let me put my best foot forward by giving me that confidence.”

Even the stress of the Super Bowl pales in comparison to challenges Burton faced before reaching the NFL. His older sister, Jazmine, had to have a 3-inch tumor removed from her brain. Then came his mom’s battle with breast cancer.

Both recovered, and Bolton draws inspiration from them every time he takes the field. He explained in an “NFL 360” video before getting drafted that what his mom and sister went through allows him to look at football from a different perspective.

“They went through the pressure part,” Bolton said in the video. “This is leisure. This is fun. This is what I hopefully get paid to do, so I don’t feel any kind of pressure when it comes to being able to perform.”

On Monday during Super Bowl Opening Night, he went into more detail about why he sees his football career as a blessing from God.

“I don’t think a lot of things in life would happen without God,” he told Sports Spectrum. “We can’t choose our family, we can’t choose our support system. God blessed me with the ability to have my mom, my family, my support system around me. I grew up with both my parents. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity.”

Bolton also reflected on the journey he’s taken to the Super Bowl and the role his faith has played in it. He is thankful for the personal growth he’s experienced in different areas of his life, including his walk with the Lord.

“Just a lot of gratitude … how much I’ve grown as a person, as an individual, a football player, a teammate, a follower of Christ,” he said.

Super Bowl LVII kicks off from State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona, at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday with Kansas City trying to capture a second championship in four years.

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