Every week Bryce Johnson is joined on Sports Spectrum’s official podcast, Unpackin’ It, by inspiring guests to discuss sports, faith and life. Listen to the full audio of all his interviews on unpackinit.com. Below are some highlights from Bryce’s interview with Renaldo Wynn, who played defensive end at Notre Dame and then played 13 seasons in the NFL for the Redskins, Giants, Jaguars and Saints. He currently works for Game Plan for Life, his former coach Joe Gibb’s ministry.
BRYCE JOHNSON: First, a few questions about your former teams in the news. As a Redskins fan and former player, did you think Robert Griffin III should have stayed in the game despite his injury?
RENALDO WYNN: That first knee buckle that he had, I was like, “Hey they need to take him out. They need to take him out now and just put Kirk Cousins in there and finish the second half”…RG III was neutralized. Being injured, he was not the same RG III…I just felt, even just for himself and his career alone, prolonging his career, this is not just a one-year deal, he is the franchise. When you’re looking at an eight-year commitment, and more than that hopefully, you just don’t want him to put that in jeopardy and end his career. So I just think…the call should have been made. I know RG III is a heck of a competitor and he said countless times on the interview that, “Hey, I felt I could go.” Sometimes it’s not his decision. It’s the coaches’.
BRYCE JOHNSON: Even though Notre Dame lost in the championship, how do you feel about your alma mater moving forward?
RENALDO WYNN: I think every team has their down time, but there are certain teams that sooner or later they’re gonna be back. We’ve had a long down time. I don’t think I’m stretched to say that I think we’ll be right back in the hunt again next year with the talent that we have. We’ve got a young quarterback who has a year under his belt. I think the thing we need to work on is probably depth. We’re really lacking in our depth.
BRYCE JOHNSON: I’d love to hear about your faith and how you came to know Christ. What is your story?
RENALDO WYNN: Everything was football. As a result, my grades really fell because of it. I wasn’t putting the time into my grades and academics when I was at Notre Dame like I was in football, and I was on academic probation. I came to a point where I was on my last leg and about to get kicked out of school, and for the first time in two years when I was at Notre Dame I just got on my knees and humbled myself and prayed and asked God to help me when I was in that valley. He immediately answered my prayers and sent me a wife, and in that same semester I was able to make it out of academic probation and make the Dean’s List. So I give all glory to God, it wasn’t me…I began going to church, but I still didn’t totally commit. It wasn’t until right before I got drafted with Jacksonville that my wife and I totally gave our life to Christ. It was awesome being drafted with Jacksonville and being a part of a team that was Christ-oriented. When I say that, professional sports it’s hard to really witness to guys, but to go on to a team where our leaders Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli and a whole crew of different guys were on fire for the Lord, it made my walk a little easier I guess.
BRYCE JOHNSON: So you have to tell me more about why you prayed for a wife and how God sent you a wife.
RENALDO WYNN: At that time, I was in so many different relationships with so many different women. I was still lonely. There was no fulfillment. The lies had continued to mound up, lie after lie. I told so many lies, I couldn’t even remember the next lie I was telling. The pressure of dealing with different relationships with all the different women had begun to really get to me. I asked God to send me someone that’s for me. I was tired. As a result He sent me my wife. I met her a couple months after that, and then we got married three months later.
BRYCE JOHNSON: Are you serious? Wow!
RENALDO WYNN: In the midst of all the stuff that had happened, I knew this was right. In the midst of all that, God will send you someone, a helpmate…He knows we can’t do things on our own. For me it was my wife. I wanted to change, but I wasn’t doing the things to change. So he had to send me someone. I really believe that…she was that inspiration for me to give it all I had…from there I really believe it was because God sent her to me that I was able to not only stay in school, but make the Dean’s List.
This column was published in the January 2013 Sports Spectrum DigiMag. Print and digital subscribers, log in and view the issue here. Bryce is the host of the “Unpackin’ It” faith and sports podcast. Follow Bryce on Twitter-@BRYCERADIO.