Football fans know about Antwaan Randle El, the football player. Along with Plaxico Burress (who has gone from the Pittsburgh Steelers
to the New York Giants) and Hines Ward, he was a part of the most highly regarded wide receiver corps in the NFL. He was a quarterback at the University of Indiana in college, and his 43 yard touchdown pass in Super Bowl
XL was a key play in the Steelers’ 21-10 victory over the Seattle
Seahawks. He was only the third non quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl and the first wide receiver.
Not everyone knows about Antwaan Randle El, the devout Christian, who likes giving his time to help others, however.
In high school he attended Thornton Township High School in Harvey Illinois. He stared in football, baseball, and basketball. He was selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the Chicago Cubs but decided to attend the University of Indiana instead. In high school he was a teammate of Napoleon Harris, who is currently a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.
At the University of Indiana Antwaan Randle El was considered one of the top offensive threats in the Big Ten Conference. He received consideration for the Heisman Trophy and came in sixth in the voting. He was the first player in Division I history to throw for 40 career touchdowns and score 40 career touchdowns. He was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2001 and was named the first team All American quarterback by the Football Writers Association of America. He was fifth on the all time NCAA total yardage list. He was the first player in history to record 2,500 or more total yards for four straight years. His career total included 7,469 yards passing 3,895 yards rushing, and 86 touchdowns running and passing. Many consider him to be the most productive dual threat player in college football history. He was drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002.
The Steelers moved Antwaan Randle El to wide receiver. Not only was he part of the most feared group of receivers in the NFL, but he also was the Steelers top kickoff returner through the 2004-2005 season and the team’s top punt returner. Because of his quarterback experience, he has been used in a variety of trick plays during his tenure, although none were as important for the team as the touchdown pass on the fake reverse play in the Super Bowl. Now sports fans will see if he can be as successful playing for the Washington Redskins, as he signed a $31 million, seven year deal with the team on March 12, 2006.
Antwaan Randle El has never been ashamed of his Christian faith, although because of his name, many assume incorrectly that he is a Muslim, and his family does have connections to that religion.
In February of 2006, he spoke at the South Hills Bible Chapel Peters, Pennsylvania, as reported in the website, www.post-gazette.com, on February 13, 2006. The church routinely uses sports testimonies as a part of its ministry. About 2,800 people attended the service he spoke at, compared to the 1,600 people that usually attend one of the church’s services on Saturday and Sunday.
During the service an interview with Antwaan Randle El was conducted, and highlights of the Steelers season were shown. The player made it plain that his faith in God comes first in his life, followed by devotion to his wife and three children. Football is third.
Antwaan Randle El said fame and money are fleeting, but “God and Christ do not change. The game I played in the Super Bowl may be the last game I play, but God will not change.”
Antwaan Randle El said his mother was a God-fearing woman who had her three sons in church several times a week. He said his father came to know God also.
Antwaan Randle El said he drifted from his faith in his Savior while in high school, but his senior year he got his priorities straight once again.
The wide receiver said he and about a dozen other players on the Steelers had a weekly Bible study all during their championship season. He said that during the 20 or 30 minute study, they give their time to God.
“The Bible is the game plan of life,” Antwaan Randle El explained.
The former quarterback shares his faith in other ways too-by always being willing to help others.
He is one of a group of players who visit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Antwaan Randle El visits the hospital frequently. He said some of the children have burns or other injuries that can be tough to see, but a person has to look beyond the injuries to see the person with the problem. He is also willing to sign autographs for the children. The wide receiver says that some of the children look very alone in the world.
Last year the former Indiana University star also went to Jefferson Elementary School with nine-year-old Robert Schwartz, as a part of the J.C. Penney “NFL Take a Player to School” program. Antwaan Randle El came in a black limousine to pick up the young football fan.
Schwartz got to throw a football to the wide receiver and show Antwaan Randle El the dozens of trophies, certificates, and medals the young football fan had won for baseball, football, wrestling, and judo.
In the school the wide receiver got to answer questions and be cheered by people in the school in a way that Antwaan Randle El said was much more personal than being cheered in an NFL game.
Antwaan Randle El is known for his other involvement in charities, such as participating in a food drive and hosting a charity golf tournament.
Some professional football players believe the only things that make a player successful are personal statistics, money, or championships. Antwaan Randle El is one player who believes a personal faith in God is more important. Perhaps that is also the reason he puts such a priority on family life.