Only known ordained minister to leave church for NFL

Only known ordained minister to leave church for NFL

There is only one person known to be an ordained minister before beginning his NFL career, not after it. At age 17, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Reggie White became an ordained minister on July 1, 1978, at St. John’s Baptist Church in Tennessee.

White was a powerful force for the Philadelphia Eagles before leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory.

Called the “Minister of Defense,” White was violent but polite; and claimed he never cursed.

“Before the 10th grade, I promised God that I wouldn’t let another curse word come from my mouth,” White said.

What made White’s experience as a preacher unusual is that he became a minister before he played in the NFL. Many players have become popular ordained ministers after their playing days are over, like Hall of Famers Rosey Grier and Ray Lewis.

Other NFL players who became a minister or pastor after retiring from the NFL include Napoleon Kaufman, Ken “Hutch” Hutcherson, and Miles McPherson.

Tony Dungy and Tim Tebow are probably the two most well-known Christian football icons, however, neither of them have officially become an ordained minister. Both have foundations, books, and seminars that focus on faith.

Reggie White preaching to a congregation.



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