Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Photo, courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Retired Pro-Bowl Running-back, Devoted Christian, and Brilliant Entrepreneur
His Hard-Driving Hunger to be His Best
Puts Him on the High Road as an Excellent Role Model
Montell Owens’ path to the NFL wasn’t easy. He got there through God’s grace, sheer determination, and hard work.
At Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware, Montell excelled in academics, music, and sports. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a lead trumpet player in the jazz band, and a letterman in football, baseball, and track. As graduation approached, he began to get offers from colleges. The best offer – a full football scholarship – came from a surprising place: The University of Maine. All Montell knew about Maine is that it was cold and nine hours away from home. Still, his parents knew, financially, that Maine was the opportunity they all had been waiting for.
The first two years of school were lonely and hard. He was far away from his friends and family, and the person he spent the most time with – his football coach – never seemed to give him a break.
Jeff Cole was Montell’s running back coach. Every day, month after month, no matter how hard Montell worked, it seemed that the coach was not satisfied. Although Montell fell back on his work ethic and did what he had to do, it seemed all the hard work never amounted to anything.
After about two years, Montell and his teammates noticed a change in Coach Cole. While his expectations never changed, he didn’t have as much energy as he used to; he started to lose a lot of weight.
The team learned that Coach Cole was going overseas, and they thought maybe he was taking a vacation. Three weeks later, they saw Coach Cole walking toward them. He was extremely thin, and his hair was gone. That’s when they learned that his trip was a last-ditch effort to try a treatment for cancer, a rare form of cancer he had been quietly battling for three years. Within two weeks, Coach Cole was dead.
After that, Montell’s whole mindset about his experience at Maine changed. Instead of feeling victimized and unappreciated, he began to think about the lessons Coach Cole and others had tried to instill in him. For three years, Coach Cole had awakened each morning knowing he was dying. But he lived each day with drive and determination.
Montell wondered if Coach Cole had ridden him so hard because he saw more potential in him. So, for the rest of his time at school, Montell dug in further and gave Maine his best. Although he was a good player and a hard worker, he didn’t have the kind of playing opportunities that would showcase his talents to NFL scouts. But Montell was not ready to give up although he was told to “hang up the cleats” by one of the assistant coaches following his collegiate football career. He joined the school track team to prepare for NFL tryouts and he started getting the attention of NFL scouts following tryouts.
Finally, it was draft day. Montell was at the house of a friend in support of a wide receiver named Kevin McMann. Kevin had had a great year, and when Kevin was taken with the last pick, Montell celebrated with him. Later, it hit Montell that when Kevin was selected, there went his chances for playing in the NFL.
Then his phone rang.
“This is Coach Pola here with the Jaguars. Montell, do you want to play some football?”
When Montell got to Jacksonville, he realized he had his work cut out for him. He was competing against seven other running backs. Montell knew he was last in line, and he would need to work hard and be a quick learner to make the final cut.
But it wasn’t easy. Many of the plays were new to him, and he wondered if he was in over his head.
One night, sitting alone in his hotel room, he was overwhelmed with frustration. He felt like giving up, but then he began to pray. He prayed prayers of thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to play in the NFL, followed by prayers of comfort, and concluded with prayers for help. He found himself almost trying to bargain with God, promising he would be a better Christian, a better person, if he could just make the team.
Suddenly, he was hit by the realization that he had been so consumed by football, he had lost sight of his real priorities. He had lost sight of his faith in Christ’s plan for his life.
Montell made it through two rounds of cuts. Then he got a chance to play in a preseason game in Miami. He got a chance to play in the fourth quarter and the next thing he knew he was placed on special teams. And he knew that his success had stemmed from the night in his room when he had almost given up hope and turned to God for comfort and help. He learned to put faith in Christ’s ability and plan for his life and not in his own ability and plan.
Montell was a pro-bowl running back who played for Jaguars from 2006 – 2012. He then went on to play for the Detroit Lions, and the Chicago Bears. He retired from professional football in 2014.
Montell is a very talented and successful owner of several businesses. His road to entrepreneurial success has been organic. Montell is driven by his desire to serve others. He partnered his desire to serve others with his passion and love of architecture. Building Artistry Studio, LLC came from his love of architecture. He has been passionate about architecture since he was a young boy. It all most likely stemmed from his father, a master-electrician, and his mother’s roots in fashion design.
Montell’s tremendous desire to serve, his entrepreneurial spirit and his recognition of an unmet needs in our health and wellness world inspired another business, Total Body Band, LLC. Montell and his personal trainer Blake McCoy, created the Total Body Band in his garage. The idea behind Total Body Band https://www.totalbodyband.com/ came from a vast need to train with more intensity but in less time to produce better results which allows more opportunity for people to prioritize their health in a busy world.
Montell’s need to serve is also driving him to help his wife tutor young children within their children’s school program. Montell is a very talent trumpet player, and he is excited to teach children how to play and appreciate music.
Montell is a happily married to the love of his life, Lisa. They have 3 precious children.
As a retired NFL player, Montell knows there are millions of kids who look up to him and other players for inspiration. He wants to push kids in the right direction, without pushing them away by being too rigid and harsh, a tough balance. He tells them: “Follow the narrow road that will lead to your dreams, but don’t travel alone. Bring along your faith, your family, your friends, and your passion, and you will go far. “His journey always reminds him that the hardest part will be one’s ability to consistently keep on the narrow road or detour when absolutely necessary through wise counsel.
Instant Replay of Montell's guiding principles:
1) Develop a relationship with Christ
2) Take full responsibility for your life and give your best every day.
3) Be willing to try new things and learn QUICKLY.
4) Trust and act on your yearnings for success.
5) Push through obstacles to gain inner strength.
6) Tap into your passion to move forward.
7) Believe in yourself, especially when others don’t.
8) Maintain a positive attitude regardless of your situation.
9) Rearrange your priorities so that the important things in life come first.
Insightful Player® is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified and Board Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead a Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. Insightful Player® was created to transform culture to be more inclusive, kinder, and more loving by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call her landline, 603-897-0610.
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