Drafted with the 8th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, quarterback Jake Locker has made significant strides both on the field and in his personal life since entering the league.
Following a season-opening win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Locker’s confidence is surely riding high. With over 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, he had a career day even though he was facing one of the best defenses in all of football.
Coming from someone who didn’t even envision himself playing college football, this is quite a surprise. Performances like these are becoming more and more common for the third-year player out of the University of Washington, but some of his best work has come off of the field.
“My sophomore year in high school I had a head coach that had been my position coach the year before and he kind of challenged me to get to know Jesus Christ. He told me about what it had done for him, the things that it had opened up in his life, and the freedom that it had given him. So we had started a Bible study (me and a few of my buddies) and he led it for us. I didn’t totally buy into it. When it was good for me I enjoyed it, but when it wasn’t, I don’t think I was completely sold, I guess.”
In college, Locker went down a wilder, if typical, path. “My sophomore year I started partying a lot. I enjoyed it because I was the life of the party. My escape to get away from the pressure and always having to be this guy that was always doing the right things was to go party and drink.”
Fortunately for Locker, he was drafted into the perfect situation in Tennessee. He had continued partying up until he got into the NFL, but a fellow quarterback on his team took him under his wing and mentored him in more ways than one.
Matt Hasselbeck, a three-time Pro Bowler, was brought in to help Locker adjust to the pace of the game in the NFL, but what he offered was more valuable than any on-field experience.
“Talking to Matt and saying that we wanted to do the baptism was the big step for me; a public commitment in front of these people, especially my teammates that were there that I had spent time with on and off the field. I said, ‘Look, I’m going to be different.’”
Locker’s quest for full-time commitment to something was finally reached with his baptism. His wife, Lauren, joined him—Hasselbeck baptized them both.
While he has just begun his journey towards becoming an elite NFL quarterback, it is clear that Jake and Lauren have set themselves on the path that will maximize their Kingdom impact using his platform and visibility.
Jake sums it up this way: “If I never spend another day in the NFL, God is still King and God still reigns. My life will be complete.” —Brian Rzeppa