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No one who knew Reggie White questioned the depth or sincerity of his faith. He was bold. He was unashamed. He practiced what he preached. And he earned the respect of millions, even those who didn’t understand or agree with His unwavering commitment to Christ, by giving his all on the football field – to God’s glory.

Reginald White was born in 1961. When his single mom moved to Kansas for a brief period, he remained in Chattanooga (his hometown) with his grandmother, who he credited for his spiritual hunger. Though she never forced him to attend church, Reggie noted her unwavering commitment to being at worship services every Sunday morning. He was further influenced by his pastor, Bernard Ferguson, a white pastor ministering to an all-black church. Pastor Ferguson’s unconditional love for his congregation, at a time when segregation was still commonplace, left an indelible mark on Reggie’s life. He surrendered his life to the Lord when he was 13 years old. By the time he was 17, he felt God was calling him to be a minister.

Through his involvement with Athletes in Action at the University of Tennessee, his faith continued to grow and he was interested in becoming an evangelist. He became an ordained Baptist minister while continuing to play football. By the time he was a senior in college, he had acquired his nickname, The Minister of Defense.

His two passions came together when he became a professional football player. “I always believed since I was a kid that God was going to allow me to play professional football, to use it as a platform to proclaim and live out the name of Jesus,” Reggie once said in an interview on “The 700 Club.” And Reggie did just that. He used his outstanding athletic skills as a platform to proclaim Christ – and live out his beliefs publicly.

The Minister of Defense had a football career marked by many successes. When he retired, he held the NFL all-time sacks record with 198. He also had three interceptions and recovered 19 fumbles. He was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1998 and was part of the team when the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in 1996. Many consider him one of the best defensive players in NFL history.

There were times Reggie’s outspoken nature drew criticism. He was far more concerned about his Heavenly Father’s opinion of him than what people thought of him. When asked why he didn’t avoid ruffling feathers, as he did from time to time, Reggie responded, “I pray for those who are critical and I pray for those who are walking in sin. I know that I was in sin and God delivered me. I want people to experience that same thing… I would rather God not be mad at me and let people be mad at me, so I have to speak the truth – no matter the consequences.”

Those who knew Reggie White saw him consistently put his faith in action. He was a man who practiced what he preached, which drew far more praise than criticism. Reggie White passed away in 2004. He lived a short but brilliant life committed to honoring God.