(Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid)
Not long before Prince Amukamara, the 2010 First-Team All-American cornerback from Nebraska, was drafted Thursday evening by the New York Giants with the 19th overall pick in the first round, Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown gave Amukamara and Eric Hagg, one of Amukamara’s teammates, something to think about.
“‘Guys, you know what, it all looks great on the front end,’” Brown recounted for The Christian Post, “‘Always, it looks great on the front end, but 2-3 years down the road, it’s usually quite a different story. And so the question is, what’s your story going to be? Is it going to be circumstance-based or circumstance free? Which means no matter what the circumstances are, in Christ, you are going to be a man of integrity. Which means, you can’t be talked out of things and you can’t be up and down and all over the place. It means you are rooted.’”
He went on to tell them the devil doesn’t change his schemes or game plan. He’s out to sidetrack them, or worse, with toys, prestige, pride, alcohol, girls or whatever it takes and it is us up to them to make the right choices.
“Hopefully his biblical training will stay sharp and he’ll get sharper and sharper. One of the things I told Prince is, ‘Get yourself involved in a Bible study. Get yourself around accountability – fellow brothers in Christ. Get yourself around people who love the Scriptures, who love God. Find a church home and people who will help you manage your life in the name of Christ. That’s what will maximize your career, your money, your platform. Then turn it into something special.’”
Brown says Amukamara was receptive to the message and he soaked it in.
“The thing I like about Prince is – the Bible says you enter into the kingdom as a little child,” Brown said, “and Prince is a big, strong, fast, athletic, one of the great athletes in the country in college football. But with all of that, there’s this humble, gentle spirit – childlike almost – about him. I’m not saying he’s like a perfectly innocent little kid. I’m saying he’s got a seemingly childlike approach to intimacy with the Lord.
“When I talk to him about the Lord, he asks questions like a kid would, which is very refreshing. It’s not like, ‘I’ve got all the answers.’”
Amukamara exhibited that gentle spirit recently during an interview with Gordon Thiessen, director of leadership training and resources at Nebraska FCA.
“Our team chaplain reminded us recently that there was a lot of attention on John the Baptist,” Amukamara told Thiessen, “but he kept his focus on Christ and said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease,’ (John 3:30). Rather than being focused on himself, he demonstrated humility. As a team, we have talked about the value of humility. Proud people want recognition, the humble want all the glory and honor and recognition to go to the Lord.”