Of the 11 Bears in the NFL this season, two will see their squads competing this weekend in the NFL’s conference championship games for the right to play in Super Bowl XLV (Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington). Season-ending injuries, however, will prevent both Baylor alums from taking the field for their teams — perhaps diminishing their excitement, but not their pride, over what their squads have accomplished thus far this year.
A foot injury suffered during training camp kept cornerback Josh Bell from contributing to the Green Bay Packers’ defense in 2010. Bell has played parts of two seasons in the NFL, appearing in nine games (four starts) for the Denver Broncos in 2008 and four games for the Packers in 2009 after signing as a free agent.
Former Baylor All-American Daniel Sepulveda, BBA ’06, on the other hand, was having the best season of his four-year NFL career this season, ranking among the league’s top 10 in several statistics, before tearing his right ACL in week 13. Before the season began, he had hoped to help lead the Steelers to the championship that would be played in his hometown; instead, Sepulveda is working to recover from third ACL tear — just the latest in a long line of setbacks that could have derailed his dreams long before now.
Sepulveda speaks of much of that in this video, explaining how over the years God has used humbling experiences to make sure Sepulveda looked to God first. It’s part of a series known as the “I Am Second” movement, in which individuals such as Texas Rangers all-star Josh Hamilton, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and actress Janine Turner share their challenges and struggles and how God has used such trials to lead them back to Christ.
That message is a strong one to keep in mind while watching the Packers/Bears and Steelers/Jets — minus Bell and Sepulveda — and perhaps even as Green Bay and/or Pittsburgh move on to the Super Bowl.
[1/24 update: So both Bell's Packers and Sepulveda's Steelers are headed to the Super Bowl. Injuries will keep us from seeing either Bear in the big game, but still glad to see our alums' teams succeeding on their behalf.)
Sic ’em, Bears in the NFL!