Fellowship of Christian Athletes Congratulates LaDainian Tomlinson on NFL Hall of Fame Honor
Tomlinson Tells FCA in Magazine Story: ‘The Reason I Have This Gift Is to Bless Others’
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—This weekend, one of the best running backs in the NFL will be enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame. It’s the pinnacle of honors for any football player, yet when an athlete is grounded in Jesus, everything remains in perspective.
“If there’s anyone in the NFL who could rightfully boast about his accomplishments, it’s LaDainian Tomlinson,” said Clay Meyer, editor of FCA Magazine. “But this NFL star and Hall of Famer is one of the most humble athletes who’s ever played the game. Undoubtedly, that humility comes from Christ and LaDainian’s knowledge that Jesus is the Ultimate Giver of all good things. It was an honor to feature ‘LT’ in FCA Magazine, and we couldn’t be happier for him, his family and his former teammates on this immense honor.”
Tomlinson’s 11 seasons, 170 games and five Pro Bowls, with impressive stats to boot, are evidence that he has been blessed with talent, but “LT” knows those blessings come with great responsibility.
Tomlinson shared with FCA Magazine that one of his favorite verses is Luke 12:48: “…Much will be required of everyone who has been given much…” The passage, which is a direct quote from Jesus to His disciples, is one his mother instilled in him when he was young and that now serves as one of his core life principles.
“I was raised in a family of givers,” Tomlinson told FCA. “That’s just our belief in our calling and in what we should be doing in helping others.”
One way Tomlinson gives back is through his Touching Lives Foundation, which enhances the lives of deserving families by engaging in programs to promote education, social and cultural awareness, and positive self-esteem. And he added that his faith in Christ motivates him to be the giving person he knows Jesus wants him to be.
“It’s something I don’t even have to think about,” he said. “I don’t struggle with it; it’s just automatic. Something inside of me says, ‘Give. OK, you can give a little more. Now, do a little more. You can help this person.’ That’s how it works for me. … Sometimes I think we get caught up in saying, ‘Well, if I give this little bit, it’s not really going to make a difference.’ But it actually will make a difference because we have the blessing of Jesus. … I’m able to play football at a high level. That’s a gift. Now, if I don’t take advantage of that gift, it can be taken away. So, I have to remember that the reason I have this gift is to bless others.”
Tomlinson also shared with FCA that he accepted Christ as a freshman in high school, and that while he grew up attending church with his family, they allowed him to chart his own faith journey.
“My older cousin, who I looked up to, got saved, and his life was changed,” Tomlinson remembered. “And I saw the light through him. I was a freshman at the time, and he was a senior. So, for him to be living that life as a senior in high school was pretty special, because we all know the kind of influence that seniors can have. So, I was like, ‘You know what? That’s what I want. I understand what it’s all about.’ And I started to seek that. Sure enough, a few weeks later, I found myself doing the same thing. I found myself answering the call of what God had in store for me.”
The star player with star power knows that keeping his priorities in check is key: faith first, then family, then football.
“It is a blessing to be in the NFL because it’s a well-publicized game,” Tomlinson said. “It’s one of the most popular games in the world. And so, while that’s special to me, I understand the calling—the reason—why I’m here. It’s not only to be a great football player, but to be a great person off the field and show young people how it’s supposed to be done, how we’re supposed to handle different situations and adversity, and to make sure our faith in God stays strong.”
Tomlinson was selected by the San Diego Chargers as the fifth overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Texas Christian University. He was tabbed as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 when he rushed for a career-best 1,815 yards and 28 touchdowns. Prior to the 2010 season, Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets as an unrestricted free agent where he continued to play for two more seasons. His career stats include 13,684 yards rushing (fifth all-time) on 3,174 carries and 624 receptions for 4,772 yards and 17 touchdowns. His 145 career rushing touchdowns ranks second in the NFL’s record book, and his 163 total touchdowns rank third behind Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. In the end, he returned to the team where it all started. In June 2012, Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the Chargers and announced his retirement from football. Today, the 38-year-old Tomlinson and his wife, Torsha, have a son and a daughter.
Along with Tomlinson, the Class of 2017 consists of kicker Morten Andersen; running back Terrell Davis; safety Kenny Easley; owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones; defensive end Jason Taylor; and quarterback Kurt Warner. The group will be formally enshrined into the Hall of Fame Saturday at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, and the event will be televised by NFL Network and ESPN. The weekend of festivities kicks off Thursday with the annual Hall of Fame Game, and continues with the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday and the Enshrinees Roundtable on Sunday. Learn more about the Hall of Fame weekend here.
FCA is in the midst of its Camps season, with more than 700 events in the U.S. and internationally this summer that will reach upwards of 100,000 coaches and athletes. FCA’s 2017 Camps theme is “ONE,” based on the Bible verse Philippians 1:27: “… I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News” (NLT). Seven types of FCA Camps include: Coaches Camps, Leadership Camps, Partnership Camps, Power Camps, Sports Camps, Team Camps and International Camps.
Those who still want to be a part of FCA Camps can find Camps by sport, day or location through FCA’s easy-to-use Camps site. Last summer, new attendance records were set as more than 100,000 coaches and athletes converged at 720 Camp events in 40 states and in 45 countries around the world, where 8,788 coaches and athletes made first-time commitments to Christ and 11,256 recommitted their lives to Christ. The 2016 attendance was an increase of more than 10,000 over 2015.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.