Welcome to the heart and soul of the Insightful Player® initiative . On this page, you will find a special collection of inspiring stories about some first-rate human beings. I look at these wonderful players as the standard bearers in the sports industry for integrity, courage, kindness, generosity, humility, perseverance, gumption and grace. They present themselves as positive role models for today’s youth, and I have tremendous respect and affection for each one of them.
I would like to pay a special tribute to Roger Staubach. Roger was the very first person “to sign on to” the Insightful Player® initiative. Once Roger joined the Insightful Player® team, the floodgates opened. Thank you Roger!
I also want to pay tribute to Kevin Reilly and Blaise Winter. They both joined the Insightful Player® roster shortly after Roger and they were both very, very supportive. Thank you Kevin! Thank you Blaise!
Scroll down to read Roger’s article below, or select any of the following players listed in alphabetical order. We hope you are truly inspired by their stories!
Roger Staubach, NFL Great – Launches the Premiere Insightful Player® story!
Roger Staubach was the very first person to join the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity…
> Read more about Roger Staubach
The first time Anthony Adams took part in a football practice, it happened only because his mother drove him there, dropped him off, and drove away.
> Read more about Anthony Adams
Kyle Arrington’s mother feared that her son’s explosive temper would be his undoing. Fighting with classmates got him twice suspended from middle school, and his parents were afraid he would one day lash out too far – and end up in jail.
> Read more about Kyle Arrington
Seattle Seahawks Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin, Jr. – Guided by faith, he learned to transform negative feelings into a recognition of adversity as an opportunity for growth
At the age of six, Doug Baldwin Jr. joined his first football team. “And then I quit because I was afraid to get hit,” Doug said. “My mom warned me that if I started the program the following year, she wasn’t going to let me quit. So I signed up, and again, once the season was under way, I wanted to stop. But this time she wouldn’t let me. She taught me at that very young age when you decide to commit to something, it means you’re going to see it through.”
> Read more about Doug Baldwin Jr.
NFL Director of Football Development Matt Birk – A caring leader who believes in faith, family, and community service
“Football is what I’ve done, but it’s not who I am,” Matt Birk likes to say. “I’m very grateful for all the opportunities football has brought me. But at the end of the day, there are other things that are more important, such as spirituality, family life, friendships, and community service.”
> Read more about Matt Birk
NFL Former Player Rocky Boiman – Finds Lasting Success on the Other Side of Failure
For NFL linebacker Rocky Boiman, self-motivation starts first thing in the morning – literally. On his bathroom mirror are dozens of Post-its with motivational messages he’s scribbled down to keep himself striving for improvement. “My finest moment is yet to come,” says one. Another says “I am grateful for…”
> Read more about Rocky Boiman
NFL Free Agent Jason Brown – A Champion Who Surrenders to His Faith Evokes the Same in Others, On and Off the Field
When Jason Brown played football in high school, he came home from practice too exhausted to do his homework. But he knew that schoolwork was important. His own grandfather had led the charge to desegregate schools in his community. And both parents had instilled in him the value of hard work and education. So he found a way to fit it in. He set his alarm for 3 a.m. and studied by lamplight until he got it all done.
> Read more about Jason Brown
Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Jason Campbell – A caring leader who grows stronger with every setback because he places his destiny in God’s hands
To see Jason Campbell play football, whether back in his Auburn University days, as a starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, or in his new role with the Cincinnati Bengals, you might imagine that sports was the sole focus of his childhood. But in fact, his parents put just as much emphasis on academics as sports for Jason and his siblings…
> Read more about Jason Campbell
NFL Former Player Danny Clark – Leaves a Positive Legacy Every Time… He Leaves a Room!
Every morning when Danny Clark wakes up, he decides to be happy. He has developed the habit of mentally setting an internal reset button when things go awry…
> Read more about Danny Clark
Carolina Panthers’ Jerricho Cotchery – Gives it All He’s Got, Becoming the Man God Created Him to Be
Raised as the second-youngest of 13 children in Birmingham, Alabama, Jerricho Cotchery did a fair amount of learning by example – both good and bad — early on. “I watched everything going on around me,” he now says. “I still made my fair share of mistakes. But, I was able to learn from those mistakes at a young age and I’m very thankful for that…”
> Read more about Jerricho Cotchery
NFL Free Agent Rashied Davis – Exemplifies the Immense Power of the Human Spirit
Rashied Davis had to hit the floor to dodge bullets in his South Central L.A. home. His father was murdered by gang members at a McDonald’s when he was eight; he grew up around drugs, violence and poverty…
> Read more about Rashied Davis
NFL Free Agent James Dearth – A Gentle Giant Living a Purpose-Driven Life
Before he became a Christian, James Dearth was like a Mack truck plowing through a red light – nothing was going to stop him from reaching his goal of winning football games…
> Read more about James Dearth
NFL Former Player Chris Draft – Astounding Dedication to Strengthen Others Improves the World Around Him
He founded the Chris Draft Family Foundation, focusing on the overarching themes of education, healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline and physical fitness. He has received a range of awards for his philanthropic and charitable efforts, including the NFL Alumni Spirit Award. He was recognized on the floor of the Georgia General Assembly for outstanding contributions to young people, Georgia communities and the state….
> Read more about Chris Draft
NFL Former Player Heath Evans -A Champion For His Wife, His Teammates, And Children All Over The World
When Heath Evans was growing up, his ex-Marine father was open and honest with his son about choices in life he regretted, hoping to pass on the lessons he had learned. Heath took his father’s advice to heart…
> Read more about Heath Evans
New York Jets’ Antonio Garay – Nurtured by Lifelong Family ties, He Uses Injury and Adversity as Motivation to Improve
Antonio Garay comes from a family of athletes. His father played college and pro football; his mother played collegiate tennis and softball. His brother and sister…
> Read more about Antonio Garay
NFL Former Player Jarvis Green – Determination to Learn From Adversity Fosters Deep Rooted Resilience and Profound Growth
For his sense of self-discipline, Jarvis Green thanks his parents. For perseverance, he credits his high school coach. And for the physical endurance that has helped him to become a world-class professional athlete, he acknowledges…
> Read more about Jarvis Green
Legendary Patriots Quarterback Steve Grogan - Set the Gridiron on Fire with Robust Determination and Awe-inspiring Stamina
“One thing I realized is that humility is the number one asset for someone in a job like mine. It’s hard when someone tells you you’re not good enough anymore and then sits you on the bench,”
> Read more about Steve Grogan
NFL’s Top-Notch Veteran Ken Harvey – An Outstanding Role Model; Gains a Boatload of Wisdom From Every Experience, Including Mistakes
Ken Harvey believes in second chances. “Mistakes happen,” says the former linebacker for the Phoenix Cardinals and the Washington Redskins and current Washington Redskins Director of Responsibility….
> Read more about Ken Harvey
Former NFL Player Reggie Howard - He overcame astounding odds to reach the NFL despite a horrifying injury – but then left it all to pursue his true calling, teaching others to give
If you were to overhear former NFL cornerback Reggie Howard talking about his calling, you might assume he was referring to football. But Reggie’s true passion isn’t his sport; it’s his philanthropy…
> Read more about Reggie Howard
Former NFL Player Steve Hoyem – Steve’s life was spiraling out of control until God gave him the courage to turn his life around and now he devotes his life to giving others hope
Young people who dream of someday achieving a career in the NFL might imagine that it would feel like the pinnacle of success. But that’s not how Steve Hoyem saw it…..
> Read more about Steve Hoyem
Shad Ireland, Ironman Triathlete – Ironman Triathlon Competitor Shad Ireland Refuses to Let His Grueling Lifelong Battle with Life-Threatening Kidney Disease Prevent Him from Accomplishing Astounding Goals
Like countless young boys before and after him, Shad Ireland dreamed as a child of becoming a professional athlete like the ones he watched on TV. But whereas other boys might be encouraged by the adults in their lives to strive relentlessly toward their dreams, Shad was given a different message. Diagnosed with kidney failure in childhood, he learned early on that he probably had just two to five years to live and would not reach adulthood at all, let alone become a strong and capable man someday.
> Read more about Shad Ireland
NFL Free Agent Aaron Kampman -Devout Faith, Love of Family and Strength of Character Have Seen Him Through the Best of Times and Very Worst of Times
Aaron Kampman remembers vividly the moment a few years ago when he received the shocking news that his high school coach, Ed Thomas, had just been fatally shot. The event was inconceivable to nearly everyone affected by it. As Aaron explains, “Parkersburg, Iowa is a town of 1800 people. Things like this just don’t happen there..
> Read more about Aaron Kampman
NFL Free Agent Reggie “Reverend” Kelly – Modern Day Prophet Calls Forth the Best in Others and Himself
Reggie Kelly embraces every setback with boundless determination, grace and grit. He is a man of God who calls forth the best in everyone he meets…
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Myron Lewis – A Dedicated Role Model Who Fully Embraces Family, Friends, Teammates and Those In Need
When Myron Lewis was growing up, there was no shortage of positive role models surrounding him. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in a two-parent household with lots of siblings, he experienced an upbringing that emphasized sharing and caretaking…
Corey Louchiey – Grew up surrounded by love, compassion and faith – and now does all he can to offer those same gifts to others
Corey Louchiey is a believer in the pass-it-forward concept. The love and compassion he learned from his parents and three older siblings was something he learned to pass on to others…
New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty – Leveraged “Speed Bumps” to Pave the Way to Tremendous Success and Enduring Inspiration
“I worked out and lifted weights and did everything I could do, because I said to myself, ‘There is no way that I’m not going to play next year.’”
Tennessee Titans’ Jason McCourty – An Exceptional Role Model Who Pushes Himself to the Limit in Honor of His Parents
Whatever your dream is, make sure that everything you’re doing is contributing to your opportunity to make it…
Former Jaguars Linebacker Tom McManus – Lessons from his father about toughness, determination and morality helped him make the decisions that led to success
Tom McManus has always been tough, both mentally and physically. As a father and husband, he’s tough on himself to live up to the fine example his father set. As a linebacker with the Jackson Jaguars for five years, he was tough enough to play through injuries and to fight his way to the starting line-up. And even as a boy, he was tough.
Former Denver Broncos Linebacker Karl Mecklenburg – All-Pro Author and Speaker Inspiring Long Term Positive Change in Individuals and Teams
When Karl Mecklenburg was on the junior varsity squad, a tough football coach sentenced him to a week of grueling workout drills…
> Read more about Karl Mecklenburg
NFL Former Player Billy Miller - Avoided Major Fall, Letting God Wow Him On and Off the Field
By the third year of his football career, Billy Miller was living recklessly, partying and spending money, trying to keep up with the older guys. How he caught himself before a major fall, and transformed his life to one of focus and purpose, is an inspiring story…
> Read more about Billy Miller
Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson - A Passionate Leader Who is an Ultimate Teammate As a Player, Coach and Person
Being a good role model is not somebody taking them to the ice cream store every Saturday; it’s someone who sits down and tells them to knock it off, or don’t do that, or that’s not the right choice.”
> Read more about Steve Nelson
Former linebacker Keith O’Neil - He won a Super Bowl ring – but that was nothing compared to winning his battle with bipolar disorder
From Keith O’Neil’s perspective, he would not be where he is today were it not for Tony Dungy, O’Neil’s former coach when he played with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He means that in more ways than one…
> Read more about Keith O’Neil
Detroit Lions’ Montell Owens - Hard-Driving Hunger to Be Hist Best Puts Him on the High Road on and off the Field
Montell Owens’ path to the NFL wasn’t easy. He got there through sheer determination and hard work…
> Read more about Montell Owens
Former NFL Player Kevin Reilly - Transformed Tragedy into an Inspiring, Purpose-Driven Life
If Academy Awards were given to remarkable people who transformed personal tragedy into an awe inspiring life, Insightful Player® Kevin Reilly would win with no contest…
> Read more about Kevin Reilly
NFL Former Player Tony Richardson – God Driven Life Makes Him a Champion On and Off the Field
Tony Richardson spent his early childhood in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Army. What the other children there called football was the sport Americans call soccer; the only American football he saw was on television until his family moved back to the U.S…..
> Read more about Tony Richardson
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Legend Andy Russell – A two time Super Bowl Champion who is an awe-inspiring leader and philanthropist
Andy Russell was only 15 years old when his parents challenged him to spend the summer biking from Scotland to Italy on his own. They said they would give him $400; if he needed more than that, he would have to earn it along the way. Andy not only completed the journey but returned home with $150 in hand, which he returned to his parents…..
> Read more about Andy Russell
Former NFL Player Gerome Sapp - Enduring Resilience and an Open-minded Approach are the Keys to His Success
Growing up in inner-city Houston, there were times when Gerome Sapp and his siblings had to cope without water or electricity. Other children in those circumstances might develop an embittered view, but for Gerome, it was formative to his remarkably positive outlook…
> Read more about Gerome Sapp
New England Patriots Captain, Matthew Slater – Admired throughout the NFL for his athletic skills, leadership and his community outreach efforts, what matters most to him is his relationship with God
The word “humble” comes up a lot when teammates, coaches, or friends talk about Matthew Slater, wide receiver, safety, gunner, and special teams captain for the New England Patriots who has played in three Pro Bowls since first being drafted in 2008. Matthew truly believes he is an agent of God, doing the Lord’s work even as he passes and intercepts on the football field.
> Read more about Matthew Slater
Philadelphia Eagles, Brad Smith – Learned Early On That the Key to Success Was Strong Role Models and an Unflagging Spirit
Brad Smith’s mother made one thing clear to her three children. No matter how little they had and how challenging it was for them to get by, they would not take any handouts.
> Read more about Brad Smith
Super Bowl winner Dave Stalls – Life lessons from coaches contributed to his successful NFL career – but the needs of children and youth became his driving motivation in later years
Dave Stalls is not a man lacking in talents. Along with winning two Super Bowls and playing in a third during a seven-year career as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the L.A. Raiders, he studied zoology, veterinary medicine, and marine biology, and then later worked in executive sales and investment banking.
> Read more about Dave Stalls
New England Patriots Hall of Famer Andre Tippett – A Giant of a Man in Football, Karate, and Everyday Integrity
Street life posed tough challenges for a boy growing up in Newark, New Jersey, in the 1960s. So NFL Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, who moved to that city from Alabama with his mother and sister when he was seven years old, turned to the martial arts to learn to defend himself. What he discovered in the dojo (karate studio) turned out to be much more than just self-defense on the street: he learned the critical importance of mind-body balance. “Karate instructors always talk about mind, body and spirit, and how you can’t have one without the other,” he says…
> Read more about Andre Tippett
Torell Troup – Welcomed his father into his life as a teen, changing the course of his life as a man and as an athlete
For some teenage boys, having a father suddenly join the household after 15 years of absence might be a jarring experience. It’s easy to see how a young man put into this circumstance might react with rebellion or uncertainty about what it would mean to have an adult male take over the household.
But Torell Troup greeted his father’s arrival, which happened just as the boy was finishing middle school, with openness, optimism and a sense of blessedness…
> Read more about Torell Troup
NFL Former Player Ben Utecht – Grit and Grace Creates Harmony On and Off the Field
Graced with many gifts and talents, Ben Utecht grew up in a loving family, surrounded by music. He readily admits that he was far from perfect. In is early years, he bought into the idea that he was better than others because of superficial things…
> Read more about Ben Utecht
Former NFL Player Damian Vaughn – Catapults Growth of Young, Collegiate and Pro Athletes by Revolutionizing Role of Parents and Coaches
Former NFL tight end Damian Vaughn has spent many years contemplating the meaning of success and how it can be used toward a greater purpose. His passion is helping top-tier athletes tap into their greater potential as role models and inspirations rather than just as sports heroes…
> Read more about Damian Vaughn
New Orleans Saints’ Benjamin Watson – Recovering Perfectionist Embraces Scripture and Receives a Gift of True Grace
Not every man can trace his spiritual awakening back to a moment with a giant teddy bear, but Benjamin Watson is unusual that way. He still remembers…
> Read more about Benjamin Watson
Former NFL Player Daniel Wilcox – Magnificent Role Model Inspires Kids to Give Life all They’ve Got!
Daniel Wilcox could have been a statistic. He grew up without a father in a community filled with violence and drugs. He never thought he would make it to 21…
> Read more about Daniel Wilcox
Giants’ Two Time Super Bowl Champion Perry Williams – Dedicates his life to his faith by empowering youth
When former New York Giants cornerback and two-time Super Bowl winner Perry Williams says that he tries to “be a positive influence, a positive role model, to do the best I can to make a difference,” it’s a bit of an understatement…
> Read more about Perry Williams
Former NFL Player Blaise Winter -Formidable Hardships Inspired His Mission to Strengthen the Core of Humankind
Blaise Winter was born to set the world on fire. His mission is to justify his birth, glorify his God, and inspire others…
> Read more about Blaise Winter
Oakland Raiders’ Usama Young - His Radiant Spirit Lights Up the World On and Off the Field
Usama Young is an inspiring ball of energy who leaves a permanent imprint of hopefulness on everyone he meets. His upbeat attitude, genuine concern for others and his unswerving commitment to being the best man he can be will take him far in life — both on and off the field…
> Read more about Usama Young