Injuries are an all-too unfortunate reality in the game of football, and the New York Giants are well aware. With just about half the schedule left to play, the team has been dealt season-ending injuries to star wide receiver Victor Cruz and All-Pro middle linebacker Jon Beason.
But in the team’s Nov. 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Big Blue received more bad news: Talented cornerback Prince Amukamara would also be out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn right biceps muscle.
Amukamara had been the Giants’ top performer in the secondary, so the team will undoubtedly miss his services. Though he of course is disappointed that he will no longer be able to help his teammates this season, Amukamara has turned himself over to a higher power – Jesus Christ – in helping him understand God’s plan for him.
“When you put faith in someone outside yourself, I think that helps cope with things like that (his injury),” said Amukamara, a first-round NFL draft pick who began his fourth season with the Giants this fall and was a member of the Super Bowl XLVI championship team in 2011. “My plan might be to play 20 years in the NFL, and His plan might be ‘just take a cup of coffee in this career, and then I have something bigger and better for you.’”
Amukamara, whose parents emigrated from Nigeria, was raised Catholic and joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) during his freshman year at Apollo H.S., Glendale, Ariz.
“I really didn’t know what it (FCA) was,” Amukamara recalled. “My freshman football coach basically just told me that there were going to be doughnuts in the morning for breakfast, and that’s what got me going.”
That hunger for doughnuts very soon evolved into a hunger for hearing the Gospels and learning more about Jesus. In college at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, he joined a Bible study group with a handful of his football teammates.
These days, Amukamara admitted that it could be difficult to be an NFL player who openly portrays his faith. Just ask Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who was constantly scrutinized for incorporating his religion onto the field of play.
“It’s definitely challenging at times,” said Amukamara, who takes it as a compliment when he’s often referred to as the “Black Tim Tebow.” “But I like to tell people that I’m not a football player that happens to be Christian … I’m a Christian that happens to be a football player.”
It’s this faith that will help the cornerback work through his injury rehabilitation to be ready to contribute to the Giants next fall. He realizes that God bestowed upon him the privilege of playing football as a means to make a living, and he routinely gives thanks for that opportunity.
“At the end of the day, life is too short, and eternity is too long,” Amukamara said. “No one is going to care about the (Super Bowl) rings, and no one is going to care about how many Pro Bowls you made. I’m just more about things eternal.”
As he found out, injuries are very unpredictable in the NFL, and while he may not be in an ideal physical condition at this point, Amukamara’s spiritual condition is unwavering, which will help him get back on the field when God feels it is time.[hr]Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.