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O.J. Brigance credits salvation to persistent church matriarch

SAN DIEGO (BP)–When St. Louis Rams free agent O.J. Brigance talks about his faith in Jesus Christ, he fondly remembers Mother Ball, the matriarch of his Baptist church who led him to the Lord in 1989.

“Everybody went to church in my neighborhood,” Brigance said in an interview at the Jan. 24 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. “It was just the thing to do. I remember Mother Ball sitting in church and she would be tapping me on the shoulder asking me if I was ready to accept Jesus.”

One day, Brigance said he was sweating bullets, knowing he was about to make a life-changing decision. “She came up to me and asked me if today was the day. It was and I got saved.”

Brigance, a 19-year-old sophomore at Rice University, became a Christian but it wasn’t until 1991 as a football player in the Canadian Football League, when he learned how to walk with Christ.

“A friend took me under his wing and began to disciple me,” Brigance told Baptist Press. “Up until then I thought God was like Santa Claus, asking him for things. When I was being discipled I learned that it’s about being obedient to God. A lot of Christians fail to realize that we aren’t supposed to live like we want to when we live for Christ.”

A native of Houston, the 6’0″, 236-pound linebacker smiles when he thinks about the Lord. “Jesus is the blood that covers me, the giver of strength through the Holy Spirit,” he said.

During his 12-year career in the National Football League, Brigance said he has been on an assignment for the Lord. “I’m supposed to be sharing my faith with my teammates,” he said. “Sure I’m there to play football, but that’s not the spiritual purpose. That’s why it will be okay when my career is over. Some guys don’t understand that. They don’t understand that God is the same yesterday as he is today.”
With additional reporting by Michael Winn

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  • Todd Starnes