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Chiefs punter Colquitt shares stories of evangelization

Dustin Colquitt, punter for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, delivers the keynote address at the annual Men Under Construction conference Feb. 29 at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park. PHOTO BY JOE PASSANTINO

by Joe Bollig

OVERLAND PARK — Kansas City Chiefs punter and Super Bowl champion Dustin Colquitt told attendees of the 24th annual Men Under Construction conference here on Feb. 29 how one sports hero helped him appreciate what his Super Bowl LIV victory meant.

Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner and former Denver Broncos quarterback, met  Colquitt at the Kansans For Life annual Valentine’s Day banquet on Feb. 11.

“I remember him saying, ‘Winning the Super Bowl is great and I’m proud of you on account of your family story,’” Colquitt recounted. “‘But now you have an even greater platform to talk about your faith.’”

Colquitt utilized that new platform in an hourlong keynote address filled with Scripture quotes and anecdotes to more than 1,200 conference attendees, who nearly filled the pews of Ascension Church.

He also brought to the conference two of his five children: Brinkley, 13, a seventh-grader; and Colston, 11, a fifth-grader.

The Colquitts belong to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood and the children attend the school. Christina, his wife, teaches math and science there. The Colquitt family entered the Catholic Church in 2019.

Colquitt comes from a family of athletes. Both his father and a brother sport Super Bowl rings and, with the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Miami, now so does he.

But more importantly, said Colquitt, he comes from a family of committed Christians. Colquitt, who declared his faith in Christ at age 5 as a Protestant, was encouraged by his father to be an evangelist.

“I remember my first opportunity to share my faith story,” said Colquitt. “My dad thought it would be a great idea . . . just to kind of slowly get us into telling about the name of Jesus. He said we should just start out right then into prison ministry.”

“If you know about prison ministry,” he continued, “it starts in front of a glass window just this big, and you can’t see the tip of their nose.

“And you have to tell them there’s hope in Christ. . . . You realize that some of those kids are never getting out. They’re going to get held there for a little bit, and then they’re going to the real deal.”

He understood, at that time, by telling the prisoners about Jesus he was speaking life into the youths and men who had made terrible decisions in their lives.

Colquitt told attendees that they have unique opportunities as men of influence to evangelize, and it doesn’t matter how old or who they are.

“I listen to my kids, and they’re always looking for a place to preach the Gospel,” said Colquitt. “I think that’s really cool about them.

“They don’t know it, but they’re doing it by their actions. And when they’re asked, they can back it up.”

One day, when winter weather forced a school cancellation, he took his kids to the Hilltop Recreation Center in Overland Park. His boys were playing basketball with some other boys. His sons soon asked why the other boys couldn’t play on their CYO teams.

“Then I started hitting them a little bit with the law,” said Colquitt. He explained how they weren’t Catholic, not within parish boundaries, etc.

Then he took a step back.

“What am I doing?” Colquitt said he asked himself. “Our kids are coming back and telling us they’re being fishers of boys, who are going to be men — the future of our parishes . . . and churches.”

Colquitt, a fifth- and seventh-grade basketball coach, decided that those boys his sons met could come to his teams’ practices. One particular boy, who is not a practicing Christian, noticed that the teams prayed before and after practices. And eventually, he began to join in, too.

“I asked myself, ‘How can I keep a kid from hearing Jesus’ name three- or four-plus times a week because he hasn’t registered for CYO,’” said Colquitt.

Colquitt also talked to the men about the power of prayer.

“[I’m going] to challenge you guys,” he said. “As opposed to saying, ‘I’ll be praying for you,’ do it right then. It’s so powerful.”

Before he left for the Super Bowl, a man he knew wished him the best — and then paused right then to pray a powerful prayer. He wasn’t the only one.

“For the first time in my whole career, I could feel the prayers,” he said. “People were mailing me rosaries. You better believe I tucked them in my bag and took them with me to Miami. . . . It was amazing the letters of encouragement I received over the year . . . but also while going through RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).

Colquitt ended his talk with a demonstration: balancing on a football. The football was a symbol of unstable, worldly things men sometimes build their lives upon.

“This is basically my life, if football is the most important thing,” he said. “If I didn’t have my hand on this [ambo], I’d be going down . . . only a matter of time before I’d fall.”

By contrast, if he stands on the sure word of God, he is steady.“So, stand on the word of God,” he said, “and you’ll be on solid ground.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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