The Philadelphia Eagles are getting some attention this week — and, ironically, it has nothing at all to do with football.
ESPN published an article revealing how Eagles team members “find common ground through spiritual devotion,” with players routinely engaging in Bible studies, baptisms and other faith-affirming activities. It’s a fascinating situation in which a large number of team members vocally place their Christian faith above anything else.
Perhaps most remarkable detail to emerge is the fact that tight end Trey Burton — whom ESPN called the “team pastor” — baptized five of his fellow players in the team’s recovery pool back in October, all while 15 members of the team stood and prayed around them. Those who were baptized were: linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill, Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks and wide receivers Paul Turner and David Watford, according to the outlet.
“We were doing it in the cold tubs, so it was kind of like, ‘Ohh,'” Grugier-Hill told ESPN. “But the power of everything that was happening there, when you got in, you weren’t even thinking about how cold it was.”
— The Increase (@The_Increase) December 10, 2016
And that’s just one of the fascinating spiritual developments unfolding within the team, with ESPN going on to recount some of the other Christian activities that, collectively, make the Eagles a fascinating spiritual force in the NFL.
Just consider the fact that backup quarterback Chase Daniel hosts a weekly couples’ Bible study, there’s late-night prayer at the team hotel the night before every game — and Thursday and Saturday night Bible studies. It’s a situation that has left Daniel proclaiming that the Eagles are, by far, “the most spiritual team” he has been on.
These Christian sentiments have had a major impact on how members the team view winning, losing — and life more broadly, with Carson Wentz telling ESPN that the atmosphere is incredibly positive, adding that he likes knowing he can talk openly about other subjects aside from football.
“On Sundays, we might lose, things might not always go our way, but to be with those guys and to have a positive environment in this locker room — not just the Christian brothers, but everybody,” he said. “It just brings out a better atmosphere.”
— Jordan Matthews (@jmattjmattjmatt) December 4, 2016
At least two players have also publicly cited prayer for helping them recover from injuries. Burton, who hurt his calf and was told he would be out for a bit, said something amazing happened after his fellow teammates prayed for him.
“When I hurt my calf [in the final practice before the season opener], they told me I was done for awhile,” Burton told the Morning Call. “As soon as I heard it, I left and had a couple guys lay their hands on me and pray on me and I was instantly better and good to go. Instantly.”
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews also reported a similar recovery from a knee injury he sustained during training camp.
“They put their hands on my knee and prayed for me like, ‘Yo, take the bone bruise away,'” he said. “And literally the next day at practice, I didn’t feel that bone bruise anymore and haven’t felt that bone bruise since.”
Read more about the Eagles’ faith here.
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