Josh Steed's Blog
Author of "Faith & Football"

The Incredible (exclusive) Story of One Bad Dude…Joe Brown

I interviewed a “Bad Dude” named, Joe Brown, last year for my book and he shared with me his life story. I want you to read his story and let his words soak into your heart. Joe is a man of passion and his words will strengthen a weary heart. I hope you enjoy his story and send others to this blog …..

The Life of Joseph Brown for the readers of Faith & Football:

I was born in 1977 in Columbus, Ohio, but within a year my family moved to Tucson, Arizona. I’m the younger of two children, with a 35-year-old sister. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 7 years old for various reasons. She says because he was unfaithful, and he says because of her drinking too much. It’s important to note that neither of my parents are Christians, or what I like to call Followers of Christ. My sister played the role of Mom for much of my childhood. I spent several years living with my Mother, who I later grew to understand was devastated by the divorce. I moved from her at the age of ten, and moved in with my Father who was a self-employed restaurant owner and franchisee. He also was a fighter pilot, retiring as a Brigadier General. My sister and I did the normal rotation during weekends as most children with separated parents do. It’s probably clear to picture the huge amount of structure that was dumped on my lap as a ten year old boy. The reasons for leaving Mom’s house were that she began to be consumed with alcohol and drugs and was all over the board. My sister also came to live with us about two years after me. My Dad was gone a lot flying and running a franchise of fast food restaurants, so my sister played the role of mom a lot. God was never talked about and we never attended a single church service ever under that roof. My Father did the best he could, which was pretty good as far as feeding us and providing as a Dad. I can remember dad saying this to me one night as we were getting ready for bed, “Son I will never bring another woman in this house to stay…You have my word that you will be well married by that point!” He held to his word, but as far as how to treat women he failed really badly. Like I said earlier, we never talked about church or even attended service. As a boy growing up, I really remember that I loved playing sports of any kind as long as I could compete with someone. My Dad noticed that and used that to tighten my shot group, and keep me motivated towards the goal of perhaps playing professional sports someday. I can still remember in third grade we had an assignment, which we had to get in front of class and say what we had planned on doing when we grew up. Well, I used this assignment to express my feelings towards playing major league baseball and also an US Army Ranger. As you could imagine the class laughed at me, but I was being very serious. Junior high was a pretty rough spot for me, as I began to grow into a young man testing the waters, often resulting in me getting in trouble. During this time my Mom fell in love with a guy who lived in Columbus and moved to Ohio to live with him. She only watched one high school game during my high school career. My Dad sent me to a private school, because I was struggling with grades. This school had no team sports and as you can imagine I was not pleased there. Well it came down to graduating from junior high, and I asked if I could go to a public school so I could play sports. I will never forget the day we sat in front of the private school director to be told, “Son you will fail out of a public school, please don’t try!” Dad sent me to this public school where I played football, basketball, and baseball, but did not start a single one as a freshman. Fast forward through high school, which I started to develop as an athlete after my freshman year and later signed to play college football at The Ohio State University. When I arrived in Ohio and was on campus I was lost in several ways as one could imagine. I was quickly sucked up with the “cool” crowd on campus spending my time being a pleaser of men. At this time I had still not been introduced to the Word, so I still had no idea about pleasing God. As a freshman at Ohio State they put all the football players in the towers, which made contacting us a bit easier, especially for the man I will talk of next. Steve Koproski, who was the Athletes in Action POC while I was there at Ohio State, certainly understood the simple principle of, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease!” I thank God for putting this man in my life at that point in my life…He planted the seed of Christ in my heart. He shared with me weekly about Christ in our meeting spot, which happened to be “Wendy’s.” There were many reasons why I began to question the worldly way of life that our society today is consumed with. I started asking questions to myself such as, “Is their more to life than myself?” “Are my days here on earth already accounted for?” “Do I have a place or person that can take away all my fears?” “Is there more in life, other than football?” “Why don’t I ever have peace in my heart?” Some of these questions are a bit embarrassing, but they give you an idea what God has done in my heart. Through my college career I was very much a Christian that was getting walks, and a few singles from time to time. I had a lot to work on is what I’m saying! I feel as though that was the Lords time to set my heart up for a dramatic change for the better. I graduated college in the winter of 2001 and was invited to the Seattle Seahawks camp. I was dating a girl whom today is my wife and mother of my two beautiful children…I may be a bit biased! She was in the same spot with her walk as well, and we decided that for our entire relationship we had lived in separate cities, but now that I was in Seattle we would live in the same city. She was a PE teacher, so she got a job and we had separate apartments and spent a lot of time together. We got involved in a Seahawks bible study that was led by Matt Haselback and Trent Dilfer. These men showed a lot of strong Christian leadership and walked it every day as far as I knew. They were great examples to witness day by day. As I grew stronger with Christ I felt an unexplainable pull on my heart…I would awake at night having dreams of serving our country, and it was always on my heart, but I was not listening. When we live life too fast, God has ways of making you go over speed bumps to slow you down. Well, I had just completed my second year with the Seahawks and just got married to Stacey, and had bought a house back in our home town of Tucson, Arizona. My contract was up and I was exploring other teams to whom I could sign with. My agent had set up nine different workouts at the time and I had completed two of them, when one night that text came in from God saying that he needed me in other places. I kept on with the NFL, because that was pretty much what I wanted to do. Well, I contracted a fungal infection called Valley Fever and lost thirty pounds in three weeks. I was as sick as I have ever been. This was that highlighted speed bump, that made me do what I hate to do, which is sit on a couch and heal. One afternoon, I began to cry and ask the Lord through my prayer, “Please heal me, and what did I do, what do you want from me?” Serve your country is what I heard, and so I spoke with Stacey about it, and w, and prayed together long and hard. We concluded that this is where the Lord wants us. So, Lord send me, (Isaiah 6:8) was my new focus which I attacked with great purpose. I felt that I was truly serving the Lord here, and for the first time in my life I felt at ease. I had no anxiety at all and was filled with peace. We sold our house and off to the Army I went, serving with the 2/75th Ranger battalion and on my last deployment I served with 2/23 INF. I have never before felt the Lords hands upon me, as I did while I was in there. To see men that openly opposed God, come to their knees crying for forgiveness was and still is unspeakable for me. Serving our country during a time of war was truly the biggest blessing on my family and I, which I could ever imagine. This is not to imply that this time was not difficult for us at times, as you can probably imagine. Those deployments will affect and continue to affect my family in positive ways that I can’t describe. I was injured on my last deployment, falling thirty feet, suffering a massive brain injury, a broken left wrist, and a torn calf muscle. Understand that at that time my wife was pregnant with our second child when she received the call that I had been injured in combat. It was truly the hands of God that brought me home to be the best husband, father and most of all a leader to my family that I can be through Him. I read every day during my deployments from my favorite book of the Bible which is the book of Psalms. Prior to my last deployment we started praying and asking God what direction our family was to go. “Father God, Please make it abundantly clear as to where you need me to be!” is what I prayed. Again He answered by sending me to Jonesboro, Arkansas to begin my coaching career while in graduate school. I work for a man who is the head coach here by the name of Steve Roberts. He is a very strong Christian leader, and I’m so blessed to have fallen around him. My wife, two children, and dog live here in Jonesboro Arkansas and attend a church named First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, which is led by Bruce Tippit. We have been so blessed as a family. I hope that you will focus on Him and allow Him to strengthen your family as a unit (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). I am still praying that someday both of my parents will receive Christ and grow to know and love him too!!

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