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The closing of one door opens many more for David Pollack

David Pollack was a three-time All-SEC and All-America selection at the University of Georgia before moving into a career in sports commentating. He joined "Gridiron & the Gospel" recently to talk about college football, but also how his faith in Christ directs him after a recent career change. Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia Athletic Association

NASHVILLE (BP) — This college football season is unlike any other in David Pollack’s life. For as long as he can remember, the sport dominated his Saturdays in ways most people haven’t experienced.

First, it was as a star defensive end for Georgia in a college career that brought three-time All-SEC and three-time All-American honors. The only other one to do that for the Dawgs was some guy named Herschel. That led to being a first-round draft pick for the Cincinnati Bengals.

On the second play of his second game in his second NFL season, though, Pollack made a hit and for the first time in his career couldn’t get up.

Former football player and ESPN analyst David Pollack (bottom) joined George Schroeder (left) and Brad Edwards on the “Gridiron and the Gospel” podcast.

He had fractured the C-6 vertebrae, doctors told him, a broken neck. Pollack went through rehabilitation, but ultimately retired before the 2008 season.

That fall, his second college football career began as a commentator. It started with sports talk radio in Atlanta alongside some studio appearances for CBS. In 2009 he joined ESPN’s college football coverage, a professional relationship that ended this year amid widespread layoffs at the sports media giant.

With that season over, at least for the time being, a new one began.

A different kind of life

“I love where God has me and I don’t want to go to the next chapter until He’s ready for me to move on. That’s my prayer all the time. You’ve got me here for a reason. Please show me what it is. Help me understand it,” he said recently.

Pollack made those comments on the Sept. 25 episode of “Gridiron & the Gospel,” a production of Baptist Press. For the full interview, plus Pollack’s testimony on how he came to accept Christ as a high school senior, download the episode from the website or subscribe at major podcast platforms.

Life outside of ESPN and traveling on weekends with College Gameday has opened up a different kind of autumn for the husband and father.

“Saturdays, man, they’re glorious,” he said. “It’s been really fun to build our own traditions now.

“… My life was usually 9,000 miles an hour … and I’ve been really soaking in having some time at home.”

That includes helping coach his son’s high school football team. In a few weeks, he said, he’s looking forward to being at every practice and every game when his daughter hits the basketball court.

“Really, [I’m] just enjoying this season,” he said.

His schedule hasn’t just opened up to more family time. Speaking opportunities, like the one a couple of months ago to 1,000 students in Trussville, Ala., have emerged in ministry as well as business settings. He’s in the process of writing a book. He’s got more time for the family-focused podcast he co-hosts with his pastor.

It makes sense because Pollack has always been a high-motor guy. That trait brought the wow to his years between the hedges. It made him a fixture at ESPN.   

Gifts like that are important to recognize for the opportunities God has placed before us, he said, no matter how things may look from the outside.

“God gave us all unique gifts and unique talents and He made you like He did on purpose for a purpose,” he said.