Religion

NFL has provided Amukamara a platform for his faith

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 18, 2019 10:30 am Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 12:16 pm

QUINCY -- Prince Amukamara is the first to admit life in the NFL is a challenge in its own right.

Being a Christian in the NFL can be doubly difficult.

"The temptations, the money ... it's tough," Amukamara said Sunday prior to delivering the keynote address at the Western Illinois Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet at the Ambiance.

A starting cornerback for the Chicago Bears and former first-round draft pick of the New York Giants, Amukamara said his faith keeps him grounded.

"My faith is my life," he said. "It makes up everything about me. (The belief in) Christ is the most important part of my life."

A former All-American at Nebraska, Amukamara, 29, played his first five years (2011-15) in the NFL in New York, followed by one season in Jacksonville (2016) before joining the Bears in 2017.

As a rookie with New York, he was part of a Giants' team that defeated New England 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI.

"The feeling of winning the Super Bowl went away pretty quickly," he said. "I don't think about it much unless people remind me, but to be a Christian, that's a daily thing and that's what I think about the most."

When asked about being labeled the "black Tim Tebow" because of his strong beliefs, Amukamara smiled. He has nothing but positive words for Tebow, another athlete who is known for his strong beliefs. Amukamara was first compared to Tebow when he was a rookie in New York.

"I'm thankful for Tim, and what he's done for Christian athletes," said Amukamara, who a year ago signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension with the Bears.

Being a star in the NFL has allowed Amukamara a platform to make speeches like he did Sunday night, plus work with faith-based organizations in an effort to impact others.

"Being a Christian in the NFL is no different than being a Christian in other profession," he said. "It can be tough because some of your peers live very different lives and question why you do the things you do. I face the same fears as others -- not being accepted or being made fun of -- but my fellow Christian teammates and my church encourage me to be bold in my faith."