My Story: London Fletcher

I thought I had to play with anger on the football field.

By London Fletcher   |  1 July 2011
image-london-fletcher-465x280 London Fletcher (right) of the Washington Redskins receives the 2011 Call to Courage Award from Frank Reich, former NFL quarterback and current NFL coach. Photo courtesy Athletes in Action

For several months in 2004, I felt God was telling me to come to Him. But I resisted until after the 1st Bible study Fred (Fred Raines, a chaplain with Athletes in Action) had at training camp. I was excited to accept and follow Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I was tired of living the life that I was living. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I felt a fulfillment inside that I had been searching for.

I was very nervous of how my new faith would actually affect me on the football field. I had always played the game with a hate. I felt I had to go out and play with this anger to be successful.

As a Christian, I am thinking, I can’t really play with hate, anger and rage and still be successful. I’m the middle linebacker of the Buffalo Bills and I am known for [being] rough, tumble and physical. How am I going to do this and serve Christ in a manner that is pleasing to Him?

It’s amazing -- not only did my life improve, but also my game improved. Training camp is the toughest part for a football player. But I never got tired and I was staying up until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. reading the Bible. I was gaining more knowledge and growing in my relationship with Christ.

I spent years chasing things I thought would bring me everlasting joy and happiness: chasing Super Bowl rings [I was fortunate to be a part of a Super Bowl with St. Louis in my 2nd year] or a multi-million dollar contract; or a new house, cars and jewelry.

None of those things did for me what Christ did in an instant.

I grew up in a home where my grandmother had us in church. It was more of a routine to go.

I would hear people talk about how Christ changes you, but I was skeptical. Then I felt that on the inside, it was a tremendous thing. I was living in the darkness for so long.

When I accepted Christ, my eyes were open; I wanted to shout and tell the world. I called and told my best friend -- all the friends that I knew -- that I had received Christ. I wanted them to really experience the joy that I felt.

I was so thirsty I really wanted to experience all that God wanted to give me. I didn’t just want to keep the relationship I had with the Lord on the inside. I wanted it to be an outward expression as well and that’s why I was excited about getting baptized that following week.

I encourage you today that if you already haven’t made the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior -- don’t hesitate. Don’t be discouraged by someone else.

Accept Christ in your heart. Admit to Him that you’re a sinner. I believe that this is the best decision you will make in your life.

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London Fletcher is a middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins. He has played in the NFL since 1998 when he signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. He also has played for the Buffalo Bills.