Drue Tranquill made the poster when he was 10. On it, he wrote one of the most famous verses in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
The poster followed the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker all the way to Notre Dame, and he still has it to this day. It’s been his reminder to trust in God’s plan and place his dream in the Lord’s hands.
“I just really had a dream of being a professional athlete and playing at the highest level and impacting people for the Kingdom. … It’s overwhelming, God’s faithfulness,” Tranquill told Sports Spectrum on Tuesday ahead of his first appearance in the Super Bowl.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ as his Savior around the same time he made the poster. He told Sports Spectrum he had a “profound encounter with grace” his freshman year of college that changed the way he viewed his faith.
“I think as an athlete you get into the performance mindset of kind of earning respect, earning people’s love, if you will,” said Tranquill, whose banner image on X is a picture with the words “Jesus paid it all.” “Earning the approval of others. I learned that it’s not that way with God. God loves you regardless of what you did do or what you’ve done in your past. I think that encounter with grace was really monumental for my faith.”
"God loves you, regardless of what you can do, what you've done in your past."@Chiefs linebacker @DTranquill talks with Sports Spectrum about his faith journey and God's love. https://t.co/Z4tmEmVfma pic.twitter.com/cVEfQwdaVc
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 7, 2024
Drafted in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019, Tranquill spent four years there before joining Kansas City this past offseason. He ranked 12th in the NFL with 146 tackles in 2022 but started his time with the Chiefs as a backup. When starter Nick Bolton missed eight games in the middle of the year, Tranquill stepped in, and Kansas City’s defense remained one of the best in the NFL. The Chiefs were the only team to rank in the top three in both yards allowed (289.8) and points allowed (17.3).
Tranquill credits the culture established by Kansas City’s coaching staff and veteran players with helping make the transition as easy as possible for him and the team’s other offseason additions.
“Whenever you have a championship group that’s been together, sometimes it’s hard to bring in people from the outside and mesh them in,” he told KSHB this week. “I think our coaches and all the guys have done an incredible job welcoming us into this championship culture.”
The 28-year-old finished the regular season with 78 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He recorded a season-high eight solo tackles in Kansas City’s 17-10 win over the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game.
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If the Chiefs are to lift the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday for the third time in five years, their outstanding defense will be one of the reasons why. Tranquill is about to play in the biggest game of his life but knows that the scrutiny he receives does not change the fact that he is a child of God first and foremost.
“You’re under constant pressure to perform,” he told Sports Spectrum. “That performance identity is so anti-Gospel. It’s challenging because you want to be the best you can be. You’re constantly having to watch tape of yourself, you’re constantly being criticized. You’re constantly being praised. You certainly need to be surrounded by people and have solid community to pour into you otherwise.”
The Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday in Las Vegas.
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– SS PODCAST: 49ers chaplain Earl Smith on faith amid Super Bowl run
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– 49ers DE Arik Armstead seeks to ‘bless others and glorify Him’
– Chiefs DB L’Jarius Sneed thanking God as he prepares for Super Bowl
– 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson headed to 1st Super Bowl: ‘This is just God’
– Chiefs owner Clark Hunt in 4th Super Bowl: ‘I want to give God the glory’
– Brock Purdy leads 49ers to Super Bowl: ‘Win or lose I’m going to glorify God’