Patrick Willis may be one of the hardest-hitting linebackers in football, but he also has a soft heart. The 29-year-old is entering his eighth season in the NFL and throughout the past seven years, he’s had quite a journey, both on and off the field. His walk with God has been a crucial part of his life ever since he was a little boy.
“My grandmother, she always just you know, told us about faith and always put us in church,” Willis said. “I’ll never forget my Uncle Arthur who was a professional boxer. He would always tell me, ‘Just always remember to give God all the praise, glory, and honor.'” (Credit: CBN.com)
The Ole Miss product has 20.5 sacks in his illustrious career and has had at least 104 tackles in six of the seven seasons he has played in his career. He is the backbone of the San Francisco 49ers’ defense and has been a perennial Pro Bowler ever since his fantastic rookie season in 2007 where he logged in 174 tackles and 4 sacks. However, his love for the game of football is nothing in comparison to the love he has for Christ. Check out this video clip below:
Born in Bruceton, Tennessee, Willis grew up poor and never knew what it was like to live in luxury. He had to work at the age of 10 in cotton fields in order to provide for his younger siblings. Without a mother and an alcoholic and abusive father, Willis moved his two brothers and sister out of their trailer park and moved in with his high school basketball coach at the age of 17.
Now, Willis gives back to his surrounding community, working with kids who have cancer. He is part of a foundation, Childhood Cancer Charity, that raises money and awareness for these kids who have an uphill battle ahead of him. Willis also runs off-season football camps and teaches kids how to play the game that basically saved his life.
Today, Willis looks to bring his 49ers a Super Bowl and will have to lead this defense to postseason glory. He will do this while also bringing attention to God at the same time.
“I just go out there and I always pray, I say, ‘Lord, I don’t know what today’s game is going to be like, but I just pray,” Willis said. “‘I pray that you bless me to go out here and play for you. Be a soldier for your army, go out here and lead this team the way you want me to lead it.’ So each time I play, I don’t want to go out there and say, tell people, ‘I’m playing for the Lord today.’ I just want them to see it and know that when I, whether good, or bad, or indifferent, you know I’m playing for the Lord.”