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David Garrard: Counting on the Lord

CBN.com - NFL quarterback David Garrard has been regarded as one of the league’s top performers. In the 2010 season he threw for 23 touchdowns and 2,734 yards. He was the team’s starter since 2007, so it came as a surprise to him when coaches had decided to cut him just before the 2011 season.

Shawn Brown, 700 Club Sports Producer: “During the 2010 season, I believe you had a 91 percent quarterback rating. Then out of the blue you get thrown a curveball. Tell me about that experience and how you dealt with it.

David: “That was a real eye-opening experience, a real heartbreaking experience. Because I’ve been here for 9 years, and this is really all I’ve known. I really didn’t know what was going on. I really didn’t know how to take it.”

David was raised by a single mom with his two older brothers and younger sister.

David: “My mother was a great lady. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew that she needed the Lord’s help to give her strength and to give her family strength.”

His mother’s condition rapidly got worse. She passed away when he was 16 years old.

David: “I really was upset. I don’t want to say I turned my back on the Lord. I stopped thinking about it, I stopped going to church, because I was frustrated and I was mad at God for taking my mother.”

He became a football standout and earned a scholarship to East Carolina University. As soon as he got there, he found out he wasn’t as great as he thought he was.  

 David: “It was my freshman year, going into my sophomore year where my head coach, Steve Logan, he called me into his office for no reason one day. He says, ‘Son, I just want to let you know, fabulous quarterback, great person, but you will never be truly a great quarterback if you don’t have a spiritual side.’”  

David pondered what his coach told him. He had to admit, that even with all the success on the gridiron, there was still something missing. His coach suggested he meet with the team chaplain, who invited him to lunch.

David: “If you want to get somebody to do something in college, you say there’s going to be some food there, yes sir. So he’s taking me to lunch, and I kept trying to fill, still, this void that I had in my life. Cause I can feel it. The more and more people would talk to me, I could feel that void… that hunger getting stronger. Going out partying wasn’t doing it. Drinking wasn’t doing it.  And, after awhile football wasn’t doing it. The one thing that I loved the most was not filling this void. Then I started hearing the voices in my head from the times when my mother was taking us to church. I started thinking, ‘Well, Mom I’m trying to live for you, and trying to be a good person for you.’ And I started hearing her voice saying, ‘Don’t live for me, live for Jesus. Live for Jesus, because He is the Way.’”

David rededicated his life to the Lord that day.   

 David: “When that was over, I really did feel just a load off my shoulders. I felt that void getting filled. And from that day forward, I knew it changed my life.”

In 2002, David was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL draft. Two years later his he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

David: “There’s a lot of things that happened with me with Crohn’s Disease. I just got drafted. Then I just got married and now I’ve got a disease I’ve got to deal with.  And really it’s a gas pain that builds up in your stomach; times 12 of the normal gas that will build up in your stomach.”

David had surgery on his intestines and was miraculously back on the field the same season. Over the next 6 seasons David made a name for himself in Jacksonville. Then in 2010, news of his being cut, hit him like a Mack truck especially after being introduced as the team’s starter two hours before, at the team luncheon.

Shawn: “So they invite you into the office, and say, ‘David, thank you for 10 years but we’re going to go with a younger model.’”

David:  “Your services are no longer needed. And I just thought, ‘How can you just throw me away?’ It really did feel like that. Like I said, if I didn’t have the Lord, it would have been rock bottom. That’s rock bottom for a lot of people. But I knew there was more for me.”

After David was released he had other offers but decided to undergo surgery on a herniated disk and prepare for the 2012 season. After months of rehab, he was picked up by the Miami Dolphins and he hopes to obtain the starting job. But whatever happens he says his strength is and always will be in the Lord.

 David: “I think that’s the way that I’ve been able to handle so many things in my life is that knowing that God gives me so much peace in my life. Having Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior gives me so much peace. It’s still tough. It’s still hard sometimes, but you always can count on the Lord to be there for you, to never leave you, to never forsake you.”

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