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World Trade Center widow hears Redskins player’s remorse, witness


EDITORS’ NOTE: Baptist Press dispatched a team of journalists to cover Baptist ministry during Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. The team included BP Assistant Editor Todd Starnes, LifeWay Christian Resources photographer Morris Abernathy, BP office assistant Michael Winn and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary writer Doy Cave. Additional stories appear on BPSports at www.bpsports.net [2].

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Dave Szott was standing in the front yard of his home in New Jersey when the World Trade Center towers collapsed into a heap of twisted steel and rubble. In that moment, Szott said he had to rely upon his strength in God, realizing that his brother, who is legally blind, was working in Building 5 of the WTC complex on that Sept. 11 morning.

Szott, an offensive guard for the Washington Redskins, said it took two hours before he learned that his brother had been safely escorted out of the building.

And while the events surrounding the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington remain fresh in the minds of many Americans, Szott said the impact of that moment hit home again — this time on Jan. 22.

Szott related the story to Baptist Press moments before he was scheduled to speak before a group of young people at a youth rally sponsored by the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.

“It was the strangest thing,” Szott recalled. “Last Tuesday I happened to run into my first girlfriend. I was not a Christian in those days and I treated her very badly.”

Szott said he had not spoken to her in 17 years until Jan. 22. He learned that she had lost her husband in the World Trade Center’s collapse.


“I expressed my grief and sorrow over her loss and told her that I was praying for her,” Szott said. “She had been married for six years and had a newborn baby.”

But expressing his remorse wasn’t the only reason Szott was speaking with his old girlfriend.

“As a believer, I had to do something else,” he continued. “I asked repentance for our relationship and I asked her to forgive me.”

Szott said he was surprised by the words coming from his mouth. “It was totally out of left field,” he said. “But I explained to her that I had come to know Christ.”

Through their conversation, Szott presented a tender portrayal of the gospel message to this widow of Sept. 11’s terrorist attacks.

Szott shared the woman’s e-mail address with his wife, Andrea, and the two have started corresponding.

“Through all of this I believe she will eventually come to know Christ,” Scott said.

By all accounts, Szott is a big man — 6 feet 4 inches tall, 293 pounds of pure evangelical Christian football player.

But his intensity on the football field doesn’t prevent him from compassionately sharing a message of hope to young people across the country.

Szott entered the National Football League in 1990, playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“My dream growing up was to become a professional football player,” Szott noted in a testimony for Athletes in Action. “I worked hard my whole life to reach that goal.

“When I was drafted to play for the Chiefs, I bought a new home, a new car, made a lot of money and became very popular,” he said. “However, I still had a void in my heart and knew something was missing.

“Then someone told me about Jesus Christ and that I could know him personally,” Szott said. “I received Jesus into my heart and began to have a personal relationship with him. I found out that God had a greater purpose and plan for my life and I received inner peace and joy that I had never felt before.”

After 10 seasons at Kansas City, he now plays for the Washington Redskins. Szott has had an impressive football career, highlighted by his selection on the Associated Press All-Pro team.

Equipped with his favorite verse, Galatians 2:20, Szott shares his faith at every opportunity.

“This has been a good year for our family,” he said. “And we praise God because of it.” Szott and his wife are parents of a 7 year old son with special needs. “Despite all the obstacles, Shane has come so far and we look forward to what God is going to do in his life,” he said.

“I just want young people to know that you can live for God even during difficult times,” Szott said. “We have a message as believers that appeals to people. You don’t have to have a college degree in order to know Christ. You just have to believe.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: DAVE SZOTT and SZOTT SHARES.