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#1

rts Writer Cliff Brunt in

in Fragen vor der Anschaffung 06.09.2018 05:15
von liny195 | 162 Beiträge

Seventy-two-year-old Susan Collesidis was never a football fan until she heard Carson Wentz talk about his faith.

Then she was hooked on the Philadelphia Eagles.

When Wentz found out his newest fan was fighting an advanced stage of cancer Adam Shaheen Jersey , he sent her an encouraging message with inspirational Bible verses.

”How much joy I get from watching him and his team play supernatural football every week,” she said after reading it.

Two weeks later, Susan Collesidis lost her battle with cancer the night before Thanksgiving.

”The message meant so much to Susan because she admired Carson as a person and believer more than a football player,” her son-in-law Doug Horton said. ”He’s the reason she started caring about sports and she couldn’t wait to watch the Eagles every week.”

Wentz isn’t playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots because he tore his ACL in Week 14. But backup quarterback Nick Foles is also a ”brother in Christ” and one of the leaders in a locker room filled with guys who have formed a strong bond because of their faith.

”It truly is a brotherhood,” Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz said. ”Those guys are holding me accountable. Off the field, I’m holding them accountable. We truly care about each other, we truly care about the growth that each individual has in the word, as believers, as well as friends and family. There are a lot of guys who are truly trying to boost me up and keep me focused on the main thing, which is obviously the word …”

Christian players openly expressing their faith is nothing new in the NFL: Reggie White, Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow, Ray Lewis and Russell Wilson among many others. But these Eagles are a unique, close-knit group.

”There is a stronger connection here,” said defensive end Steven Means DeAndre Hopkins Jersey , who played for three other teams. ”It’s another level because we push each other in certain areas that we are flawed at and open ourselves up to each other. We text each other throughout the day making sure that everybody is on the right path and doing the right thing.”

Torrey Smith played with Lewis on the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in 2012. They had a solid core of Christian players who used their faith for inspiration during their journey. Smith also spent two years in San Francisco before the wide receiver came to Philadelphia this season. He said it’s different here.

”I’ve been lucky to be part of three organizations that do have a very strong Christian presence,” Smith said. ”The difference here is a lot of younger guys lead.”

It starts with Wentz, the face of the franchise.

Wentz went on a mission trip to Haiti last May with former teammate Jordan Matthews and a group led by Kyle Horner, lead pastor of The Connect Church. He delivered a sermon a month later at a church back home in North Dakota and launched his Audience of One Foundation in July. Wentz and several teammates even created a devotional video series for the Bible app.

Four days before the season opener, Wentz and teammates Trey Burton and Stefen Wisniewski spoke at a faith event in front of a crowd of 2,000 people who sat in the rain for a couple hours to hear their favorite players share their testimony.

But before he had an MVP-caliber season and led the Eagles from worst to first, Wentz received plenty of criticism from some media and fans because he openly talked about his faith on social media .

He wasn’t deterred.

”Jesus was persecuted everywhere he went,” Wentz said. ”So if Jesus, who is our ultimate example, endured that, then I can endure a couple tweets. I can endure a little riff-raff here and there.”

A large group of players meet for Bible study on Thursdays and hold a study for couples on Mondays. They get together for prayer and devotionals the night before games. They’ve even gathered for baptisms in some unusual places.

In October 2016, Burton and Pastor Ted Winsley baptized six players in a cold tub at the team’s practice facility.

”It was crazy,” said Winsley, the team’s longtime chaplain. ”The guys were just hungry, wanting their lives changed.”

Before a Thursday night game at Carolina last October Chad Thomas Jersey , second-year pro Marcus Johnson was baptized in a hotel pool.

”Since I’ve come to Philly, I’ve grown in my faith so much,” Johnson said. ”As a rookie last year coming in, you always hear about the locker room and how dysfunctional it can be and people playing for money and this and that, but when I got here, everyone was so supportive and I knew it was something special.”

Having strong faith doesn’t make players immune to adversity, but it helps them deal with it. The Eagles (15-3) have overcome numerous injuries to important players on their way to winning the NFC championship.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, running back/return specialist Darren Sproles, special-teams captain Chris Maragos and kicker Caleb Sturgis sustained season-ending injuries along with Wentz and Jordan Hicks, the playmaking linebacker and quarterback on defense.

Instead of anger and resentment, they’ve leaned on their faith to maintain a positive attitude.

”Character is always revealed in times of testing,” said Horner, who pastors several players. ”For these men, Christ is not a crutch to lean upon, he is the foundation which their life is built upon. For them Sherrick McManis Jersey , faith is not an intellectual acknowledgement of truth, but a day-by-day expression of their love for God. This is where it all starts.&

Paul George turned down one option and created a slew of new ones.

George has decided not to exercise his $20.7 million option for next season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday. George will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because neither George nor the team has publicly announced his decision. ESPN first reported George’s decision about the option year.

It was not an unexpected move for George, who averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals for the Thunder this past season. By not opting in to the final year of his existing deal, George opens up an array of possibilities – such as going elsewhere, possibly the Los Angeles Lakers, or signing a new deal with Oklahoma City.

He is also expected to be pursued by the Houston Rockets, who finished this past season with the NBA’s best regular-season record.

George may opt to sign a short-term deal, either with the Thunder or someplace else. He could also command as much as $176 million in a five-year deal if he chooses to stay in Oklahoma City and pair up with Russell Westbrook for years to come.

He will be one of the headline attractions when the free-agent shopping period officially opens at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday, along with LeBron James – assuming that James chooses not to exercise his $35.6 million option for next season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Thunder have long maintained that they want to keep George, whom they acquired a year ago in a trade with the Indiana Pacers.

”From the day that he arrived, we really made a specific and intentional effort to build a relationship with Paul and his representation built on three things: collaboration, transparency, and trust Daryl Williams Jersey ,” Thunder GM Sam Presti said after the season. ”Those tenets were followed throughout the year and continued to be. I felt strongly about the relationship. I feel great about the communication and the honesty, about the way we started the relationship.”

George is a five-time All-Star who just turned 28. For his career between Indiana and Oklahoma City, he’s averaged 18.6 points and 6.2 rebounds while connecting on 38 percent of his tries from 3-point range.

Presti gambled a year ago by trading for George and Carmelo Anthony to join Westbrook in hopes of rejoining the NBA’s elite. It didn’t quite work out – the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

Anthony has exercised his $28 million option to stay with the Thunder for next season, doing so while insisting that he will not accept a role where he comes off the bench. But George has said he sees potential in Oklahoma City and seemed to enjoy pairing with Westbrook; the Thunder went 40-22 in their final 62 games of the regular season and got the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.

”I think we’ve set the bar at what we could be,” George said at the end of the season. ”Obviously, it showed at times us just being together with our first year with the lapses and some of the losses that we’ve got this year. But as a whole, I had an amazing year here.”

The question now becomes, was it George’s only year there?

”They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of a coaching staff,” George said. ”I mean, honestly, I can’t say it any more than that. They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked.”

The Thunder will soon find out if that’s enough to keep him.



AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City contributed to this story.



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