Bryce Johnson is the host of the nationally syndicated faith-based sports radio show, UNPACKIN’ it, where he interviews intriguing people from the sports and entertainment world about sports, faith and life. This is an interview he did with ESPN’s Daniel Jeremiah. You can listen to the full interview and find out more at UNPACKINIT.COM
Our guest today is an NFL network analyst who spent a combined eight seasons with three NFL teams as a scout, and graduated in 2000 from Appalachian State (my alma mater) where he started as quarterback for three seasons. I’m pumped to be joined by Daniel Jeremiah on UPACKIN’ it. Daniel, how are you?
Daniel Jeremiah: I’m doing great!
BRYCE JOHNSON: You’ve been at NFL Network since 2012, and it seems like they’re giving you more and more responsibilities. I’d love to hear the story of how you ended up at NFL Network, and how you got interested in media.
Daniel Jeremiah: I scouted in the NFL for eight years total. I got into that really kind of happenstance. My dad, who is a pastor in San Diego, had a good relationship with Chris Mortensen from ESPN, and he helped me get started in my media career right out of college. I took a job with Sunday Night Football behind the scenes as a production assistant – a pretty cool job for a young kid.
My second year with them we were doing a Baltimore Ravens game and I happened to run into my brother’s college roommate. He was a scout for the Ravens, and after we caught up, he asked if I’d ever be interested in scouting. I’d never even thought about that…but I said sure. I ended up getting an interview with the Ravens and that’s how I got into scouting.
I was with the Ravens for four years, then got a big promotion with the Cleveland Browns. The first year we were 10-6, and the next year we were 4- 12, and we all got let go. With 18 months left on my contract, I decided to pursue this media thing, but the Philadelphia Eagles came along and offered me a scouting job. Halfway through my sec-ond year there, I had a media agent who had opportunities for me both at ESPN and NFL Network. Soon thereafter, I ended up going with NFL Network since I’m from Southern California. I left scouting behind and have been doing this for four years now.
BRYCE JOHNSON: You are the son of pastor and author, David Jeremiah. I’m curious, what impact has your dad had on you as a man, but also what impact has he had even as a TV guy since he’s out in front of people all the time?
Daniel Jeremiah: It’s been huge. I would not be anywhere near where I am right now without him. Because of his relationships, like with Chris Mortensen, who listened to my dad on the radio for a long period of time and became friends…that helped me get started on this path. Just his connections and his relationships have been huge. I talk to him every single day on the phone. He’s my biggest cheerleader. He’s always given me encouragement, and he’s such a great sounding board – he’s got so much wisdom. In terms of some of the big life decisions that I’ve made, man, what an asset to have!
BRYCE JOHNSON: That’s great to hear. Now today, after all these years since college, what has been on your heart and what has God been teaching you recently?
Daniel Jeremiah: He’s always working. The thing I struggle with is knowing the appropriate opportunities to share my faith. To me it’s about letting your life be an example. When I’m encouraging, when I’m being a good friend, when I’m loving, and when I have my spirit in the right place, people can see Christ in me. You don’t necessarily have to beat them over the head with a tract. You’ll be surprised how many people will approach you and ask what you have, or think you have an answer for them when they’re going through a hardship. That’s when people will approach you and that’s when those opportunities happen.
This column was published in Sports Spectrum’s Fall 2016 print magazine. Log in HERE to view the issue. Subscribe HERE to receive four issues of Sports Spectrum a year.