EDITOR’S NOTE: See yesterday’s Baptist Press story about San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers.
NEW ORLEANS (BP) — If Morgan Cox does his job in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, he won’t make the headlines.
He won’t make a game-saving tackle or catch a winning touchdown pass. He could have the best game of his life, and few will know it.
But if Cox messes up at a key moment, he’ll forever be remembered as a goat.
Such is life for the Baltimore Ravens’ long snapper.
“I know that I’m doing my job if nobody really knows my name,” Cox said during Jan. 29’s media day in New Orleans. “You kind of have to have the personality for that — being OK with staying in the background and watching your kicker succeed and being happy for him.”
That mentality doesn’t stop on the field with Cox, however, and permeates his entire life — flowing from his Christian faith.
“I can’t even begin to describe the blessings that I feel that God has given me in my life,” Cox said. “I just have to trust in Him to know where to go, where to take this [Super Bowl appearance] in order to use it as a platform to honor Him.”
Raised in a Christian home near Memphis, Tenn., Cox became a believer at an early age. His family was actively involved at Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis, where Cox still attends during the offseason.
He graduated from Evangelical Christian School in Cordova, Tenn., and though he wasn’t heavily recruited to play college football, made the team at the University of Tennessee as a walk-on.
Following his collegiate career, he signed with the Ravens in 2010 as an undrafted free agent and earned the starting long snapper role for the 2010 season. Cox quickly earned a reputation as a hard-nosed and fierce competitor, especially after a game against Cleveland in 2010 when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the second quarter. He stayed in the game and snapped for three punts, two field goals and two extra points.
That display helped him earn the team’s Ed Block Courage Award in 2011 for his courage on and off the field. Cox also is an active participant in several community outreach projects in the Baltimore area.
Cox has found the Baltimore locker room to be a comfortable place for him as a Christian. He’s surrounded by several other believers on the team and said even those who aren’t Christians have listened as he has shared his faith with them.
Even when he’s on the field, Cox has ways of reminding himself about God’s presence in his life. When he prepares for a snap and is looking through his legs, the holder’s left arm is pointing down at the field, and Cox envisions his target as a cross between the holder’s knee and his arm.
“That’s just a small way of reminding me that Jesus is with me, and He’s going to take care of me,” Cox said.
Tim Ellsworth is editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations for Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).