During this past offseason I was simply focusing on staying in shape and healthy, waiting for an opportunity. I was trusting that the right opportunity would present itself, but I didn’t know where, when, or with who it would be. I had no idea that opportunity would present itself on the Ravens, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Putting on a football helmet again seemed surreal. When I arrived in Baltimore, I signed my contract and then fifteen minutes later I was on the field, geared up, and ready to practice. Once I stepped on the field, I was overwhelmed with an extreme sense of gratitude. After everything I’ve been through in the last year and a half, I can now see the impact I’m able to have, and it’s a really awesome feeling. I’m incredibly thankful for what God has brought me through and where I am today. I now have a testimony I can share with the world and I’m still able to play the game I love!
Over the past few years I went from being in the prime of my career (or so I thought at the time)—being one of the top cornerbacks in the league and leading the league in interceptions—to falling down into the pits. I thought my career might be over. During that time, the crowd was gone, the accolades were gone, and all of the people who were once cheering for me were nowhere to be found. The only things remaining were the people who really cared about me and my faith. This process really cleared out a lot of distractions from my life and allowed me to focus on what’s important—what I needed to do for my career and the people who were there for me. It helped me understand what a privilege it is to be in the NFL, and no matter how talented you may be or how hard you work, you can’t get there on your own.
Through it all, I see how God has used these hardships to bring me to a place of greater spiritual maturity. I’ve been able to develop patience, trust, and humility—things I couldn’t have gained without this adversity. I have a whole new perspective on both football and my career now. God has helped me realize just how much I love this game. Now that I have the chance to play again, I can’t believe the things I used to complain about or take for granted.
This process has given me a huge testimony to share, but it’s also given me assurance to know that when I trust in God, believe what He says, and stay faithful to His plan—even when I don’t know how it’s going to work—, He will make it happen. He can change things overnight; He can move mountains.
I’m not able to express what it feels like to have something taken from you, think you’ll never have that something again, and then find yourself in the midst of it once again. I know there’s nobody but God who could do such restoration work.
I don’t know what’s going to happen this year but I believe it will be a redemption story for me. What I thought was supposed to be before, now will be. I’ve grown through this journey and I know now more than ever that God is faithful. He has carried me through. If nothing else comes of this experience, God has solidified my faith in Him. Yes, I would like to get back to the elite level of play I exhibited a few years ago, and I believe I have that in me. God’s given me another chance to use the talent He’s given me and I will use every opportunity and interview I can to exalt Him.
None of this has happened my chance; it’s all for His glory.
Brandon Boykin is a defensive back for the Baltimore Ravens and a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.