Monday, April 29, 2013

Why I am leaving the NFL: Walking by faith and fighting for our generation

The last year has been an amazing experience working with the St. Louis Rams in their scouting department. I’ve enjoyed it more than I ever could have imagined. I learned so much and developed friendships that will last a lifetime. I feel so honored to have been able to be part of such a premier organization, and I will always remember the things I learned and the people I met along the way. Life is all about relationships. From the security guards, janitors, maintenance crew, nutritionist, coaches, marketing department, and everyone else, I feel blessed that I was able to meet so many awesome people.  Even though I feel like I could have done well in this career and been successful, sometimes the Lord calls us to something else. He doesn’t always call the qualified but He will qualify the called. Early in the year, I read a quote that truly impacted me in more ways than I could have imagined. Here is the quote:

“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God – the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

After I read this, I wrote it down and read it often.  Being in the NFL is a dream come true for many and a memory that I will remember the rest of my life.  Being part of 1 of 32 teams is an honor and one that I never took for granted. Although it was great, something was missing for me as if I had a void in my life.  I would evaluate players, write my reports, go to games, travel to private workouts, but when we would begin talking about players and their backgrounds, I was immediately drawn to their off the field issues more than I was their ability to play football.  Over and over again the same information seemed to be present in their lives “Single parent home. No father. This kid needs a man in his life. He doesn’t have anyone to lead him. His role models are absent.” It spoke to my heart and the Lord continued to speak throughout the year.  Our world is in need of men that will step up to the plate and take a stand for their families. Our world is in need of a generation of men to rise up and make a difference for the future. Kids have nobody to look up to these days.  If they do have someone to look up to it’s usually a figure that isn’t a good one. It’s usually one that will lead them down the wrong path. I want the youth of today to be able to look around them and see men who act like men. I’ve seen too many kids make decisions that changed their life forever because they lacked people in their life that could help them. I desire for them to see men who love their wives. I desire for them to see men who pursue, honor, and respect their wives. I desire to see men who love their kids.  I desire to see men who spend time with their families and make them a priority. I desire to see men that quit worrying so much about themselves and more about others. I desire to see men that will say no to things that bring them instant gratification and yes to things that will bring delayed satisfaction. I desire to see men that are givers. I desire to see men that care more about others than themselves.  I desire to see men that will seek help to make their lives better which will make their families better. I desire to see men that will quit finding their identity in their jobs and find it in Christ. I desire to see men that won't sacrifice their family for a career. These are the men I am looking for and the man I ultimately want to be. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back the streets. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back their homes. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back their relationships with their kids. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back the schools. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back neighborhoods. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back what has been stolen. I want to see a generation of men rise up and take back the church. I want to see a generation of men rise up and be who God has called them to be. I’ve seen enough boys to know that we have plenty of them. The sad thing is many of those boys are grown men who haven’t grown up yet. A lot of older men are chasing women, dreams, drugs, alcohol, and other things that will NEVER bring ultimate satisfaction while their families are suffering. Not only are their families suffering but they are suffering as well. No matter who you are, where you come from, what you do, or what you have, the Lord wants to use you and will use you if you will just say yes to Him. You have a purpose. You matter. You’re life counts for more than just you. You’re loved. You’re needed. You’re wanted. My heart’s desire as I leave the NFL is to see the Lord change the hearts of men and bring them home. I want to see divorced couples reunite. I want to see absent fathers become present. I want to see those in bondage set free. I want to see broken families restored. I want to see kids that others say are hopeless become something. I want to see troubled youth change their life. I want to see lives changed. It all begins within each of us. I know I serve the almighty God. I serve the One who is in control of all things and able to do all things. To Him I cling and to Him I look for restoration and redemption.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

I will be moving back to Mississippi to take a full time job with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) on campus at Mississippi State. I will be able to work with athletes and coaches, and I look forward to seeing the Lord work. Is there something the Lord has been calling you to but you are scared to say yes? I want to remind you that He is faithful. He provides. He loves you and cares for you and wants to work in your life. Don’t let what others say or don’t say hold you back. Don’t let your parents or anyone steer your life for you. Say yes to Christ if He is speaking. When our lives are over we will realize that one thing matters: What we did to impact or invest in the life of another person. It’s not about you. Love God. Love people.

Join me on this journey.  This journey will be long and tough but full of hope and victory as long as we keep Christ in the center. We fight battles on a daily basis. When it’s all said and done may we all be able to say as Paul did:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7

Make your life an answer to the question and call of God!

Keep fighting,


  1. It takes a lot of faith to answer the call, but you will find that when you step out onto the path God has outlined for you, your feet find solid ground. (I always envision the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which he must make a 'Leap of Faith' - stepping out into what surely must be a void. What seemed unknown and was unknowable to Jones was nevertheless solid.)

    Much of your post above reminded me also of another movie called "Courageous" directed by Alex Kendrick and the folks at Sherwood Pictures in Georgia. As a football guy, you might be familiar with his movie "Facing the Giants." Courageous is all about having the courage to be a man - a Godly man, taking responsibility for his Godly purpose, to lead in his family, his church and his community. If you haven't seen it, check it out.

    Blessings upon your new direction. God will reward your obedience in many, many ways - even some you might not even directly perceive.

  2. We need more men like you Tyson! Thanks for sharing your heart! And taking a leap! And we are glad to have you back in MS and at MSU!

  3. Thank you! And, as a True Maroon fan, I'm excited to have you back!

  4. Wonderful, Tyson!!! God richly blesses obedience. With this post, I'm reminded of Daniel standing up and doing what the Lord required of him and ultimately being blessed with the gift of interpretation and reigning as king. God bless you! Thanks for this!

  5. I would rather come to the end, knowing that I gave my life for something than lived my life for nothing. Love you bruh!

  6. Tyson, what a blessing you are. Go Dogs!

  7. Also, when you move back - check out the Father's Child ministry in Columbus (over at Brickerton) - this sounds like its right up your alley

  8. So glad to see that you are coming back home to continue your ministry. Our world could use a lot more people in the world like you. God's speed .

  9. Thank you for not being afraid of doing what is difficult Tyson. I look forward to hearing how walking the right path transforms you and those around you. Best wishes on such an exciting journey!

  10. Super excited about this!! Will be praying for you and the things Good has in store for you! Would love to have you speak at my school sometime.

    1. This truly makes my heart smile and my cup runneth over. I am a Senior at Mississippi State but more importantly I am a single mom of two wonderful children. My daughter's father is a part of her life although their relationship isn't what it could be. But my son's father abandoned him pretty much before he was even born. And even though I have never met you personally, you have and always will hold a special place in my heart. First, my daughter met and got to run some drills with you when you helped with the Strength and Conditioning Camp at MSU a few years ago. Not only were you her favorite Bulldog athlete, she considered you a friend from that day on. And now, because of your bold stand for God and the fatherless like my son, you are definitely at the top of my list too! There's so much more I could share, but for time and space sake I will just say....Thankyou:) May God bless you and know that my children and I will be praying for you! Please lift us up as we fulfill our call in the Ministry as well! much love, Sonya McLaughlin

  11. Amen brother. Fight the good fight and never give up. God Bless.

  12. Would you come to Petal High School and talk to our kids>

  13. Warms my heart to see you answering God's call to be a leader for your generation. Will be praying for you!

  14. My comment is above!!! Somehow it was published as a reply to someone else's comment. Sorry for the confusion and Thanks again Tyson:)

  15. Hi Tyson,

    I'd be interested in profiling you for a young professionals column that I write for the Mississippi Business Journal, a statewide business newspaper. Feel free to contact me when you get back and settled in.