Kurt Coleman Ohio State’s Religiously Faithful Safety


By Paul M. Banks

In Monroe Ohio, about halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton, there’s an enormous Jesus statue in front of a church bordering Interstate 75. It rivals the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue on Corcavado mountain overlooking Rio De Janiero in size. It’s indicative of Ohio’s place as the buckle of the Bible Belt. The Creationist “museum” (or whatever it is) is also located on the same highway exit as Cincinnati’s main airport. And Ohio’s biggest and best college football team, THE Ohio State University Buckeyes, have their share of Christy individuals, including preseason All-American safety Kurt Coleman.kurtcoleman

Coleman, 5’11” 190 with 4.4 speed, is on the 2009 Lott Trophy watch list and a member of the FCA, Football Chaplain’s Association. He’s also active in public speaking and outreach with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action, an Evangelical based group. “If I’m free, I’ll go speak to a church. It’s a great experience to grow as a person, to help share experience with others and help other people out,” Coleman said at Big Ten Media Day.

Some of the biggest and best Buckeyes on this year’s team –as well as last year’s squad- are extremely Christian, which is part of a much publicized trend in college football. The sport’s most high profile player, Tim Tebow, is essentially Billy Graham with a penchant for running the spread-option.  Tebow is NEVER criticized by anyone in the mainstream media, (see the “Rome is Burning” episode when Jim Rome slurped him for two whole minutes in describing Tim Tebow’s cool response to a very inappropriately sexual question at SEC Media Day)  and subsequently, the media has made more stories about Jesus in football.

This is nothing new of course, as College Football is at its most popular in the South (the proverbial Bible Belt) and many of the premier players emerge from poverty-stricken areas, where church is often the community’s primary focal point. If Jesus were alive today, I don’t think he’d be in favor of much of what goes on in the collegiate athletic cesspool, so the infusion of faith and worship can be a welcome departure from under-the-table payoffs and prostitution slush funds.fieldgoal_jesus1

Coleman told me what he talks about in churches. “A lot of it is how I came to faith, testimonials. For anybody who’s come to faith, the first they’ve said ‘this is what I need in my life at this time.’ I share that and I share tidbits in how you can keep growing in your faith.” Hope and prayer has been a big part of Coleman’s life, especially when his hero and confidant, his father came down with a rare form of male breast cancer. It was trying, but Coleman’s father pulled through just fine; now cancer-free after a treatment that involved little to no side effects. And this fall Kurt will play his final season with more mental resiliency. Last season he was third on the team in tackles despite missing two games from injury. In the NFL, he projects as a top 20 corner prospect, (his height will force him to move over from safety) and a 5-6th round draft pick.

The Coming of Big JC


By Paul M. Banks

It’s rare that I get an endless stream of text messages about a news story. It’s also unique to see one news item dominating the status updates on Facebook and Twitter- and then when you acknowledge it in your status update, you have a few comments almost instantaneously. But what the news broke that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior was coming to Chicago. Whoops, wrong JC! But given all the hullaballo about a franchise savior arriving, you can understand why I thought judgment day was upon us. Because I always wondered what would happen first: the Bears have an exciting and enthralling passer (instead of a “game-manager” at best) at the quarterback position, or the end of the world. Who knows at this point, the Bulls might actually have a big man that can score! You’ll see Jessica Simpson in Mensa before that happens. But enough nabobs of negativism, this is a day for hallelujah!

Here were the specifics:

LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears acquired QB Jay Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round draft pick (140th overall) in a trade with the Denver Broncos today for QB Kyle Orton, a 2009 first round draft pick (18th overall), a 2009 third round draft selection (84th overall) and a 2010 first round draft pick.

Cutler was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2008 after passing for a Broncos franchise record 4,526 yards in 16 starts. He completed 384 of 616 pass attempts (62.3 percent) with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions for a 86.0 passer rating last season. Cutler’s 29 completions of 25-plus yards ranked tied for seventh in the NFL and his eight 300-yard passing contests were second most.

In three NFL seasons after being selected 11th overall by the Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft, Cutler has completed 762 of 1,220 passing attempts (62.5 percent) for 9,024 yards, 54 touchdowns and 37 interceptions for an 87.1 passer rating in 37 starts. Since being named the Broncos’ starting quarterback in Week 13 of the 2006 season, Cutler’s 9,024 passing yards rank third in the NFL, his 54 touchdowns rank tied for seventh and his 60 completions of 25-plus yards rank tied for fifth.


Regular Season

Year        Team       G             GS           Att           Cmp        Pct          Yds         TD           Int           Lg           Sack       Lost        Rate

2006        Den         5              5              137          81            59.1         1,001       9              5              71t           13            85            88.5

2007        Den         16            16            467          297          63.6         3,497       20            14            68t           27            153          88.1

2008        Den         16            16            616          384          62.3         4,526       25            18            93t           11            69            86.0

Totals                     37            37            1,220       762          62.5         9,024       54            37            93t           51            307          87.1

Additional Statistics: Rushing – 113 rushes for 423 yards, 3 touchdowns

Given that most outlets were reporting Cutler would go to the Redskins, this is a great surprise! I must admit I am a bit sad to see Kyle “Captain Neckbeard” go however. He’s an environmentalist, was an extremely hard partyer and probably my favorite Bear, if not the most colorful one. Still it’s worth the sacrifice to finally have a franchise QB in place- especially since the offensive line has received a major upgrade this offseason.

O and there’s a new Pace to the O-Line too!

And on the same exact day no less….

LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with T Orlando Pace on a three-year contract today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The seven-time Pro Bowler (1999-2005) has started 154 of 158 career games played in 12 NFL seasons, including 14 contests in 2008. The 6-7, 325-pounder was the first overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams out of Ohio State . During his string of seven-straight Pro Bowl seasons, Pace helped lead the Rams to the Super Bowl XXXIV title, a Super Bowl XXXVI appearance and blocked for three-straight NFL MVPs (QB Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2001 and RB Marshall Faulk in 2000).

Tackle Kevin Shaffer who started pretty much every game for the Cleveland Browns the past 5 seasons was signed on March 25th. Last year’s number one draft pick Chris Williams is now healthy and rarin to go for his sophomore campaign. Also, some of last year’s starters are now gone: John Tait retired, Terrence Metcalf was cut and John St. Clair declared free agency. So things will be looking much different (i.e. much better regarding whom the new quarterback will have blocking for him). Now if we could find a legitimate NFL worthy wide receiver!