While he never believed in separation of church and pigskin as a player, NFL legend Kurt Warner has some surprising advice for pro football's newest religious poster boy.
Kurt Warner wore his beliefs proudly during a remarkable 12-year career as an NFL quarterback, but he believes Tim Tebow needs to rein in his evangelizing just a little. Although Warner says he's pulling for the Broncos quarterback to succeed, he has an interesting recommendation for the second-year Broncos star:
"I'd tell him (Tebow), 'Put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way you're living," Warner told the Arizona Republic. "Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony."
Warner led lousy franchises in St. Louis and Arizona to the Super Bowl, and now he's an analyst for the NFL Network. He's worried Tebow's religious displays are too much for cynics to bear.
"I know what he's going through," Warner told the Republic, "and I know what he wants to accomplish, but I don't want anybody to become calloused toward Tim because they don't understand him, or are not fully aware of who he is. And you're starting to see that a little bit."
Aside from being considered one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history, Warner is often remembered for saying, "Thank You Jesus!" moments after his Rams Super Bowl XXXIV victory in 2000. For the rest of his playing days, the former Northern Iowa quarterback would work in faith-based references when speaking with reporters. Now age 40 and in the media, Warner has had a slight change of heart regarding preaching one's religious beliefs in such a public fashion.
"There's almost a faith cliche, where (athletes) come out and say, 'I want to thank my Lord and savior,' " Warner told reporter Dan Bickley. "As soon as you say that, the guard goes up, the walls go up, and I came to realize you have to be more strategic. The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life, people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after."
Whatever Tebow is doing now is working both off and on the football field. The Broncos beat the Chargers 16-13 in overtime Sunday to improve to 5-1 (.833) since the Florida Gators Heisman Trophy winner took over. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Tebow was his usual religious self after the game, mentioning "my Lord and Savior" several times to the post-game media.
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