ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcon’s mantra this year has been “Rise Up!” Quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, and running back Devonta Freeman are outstanding offensive players who have elevated the team to new heights this season and the team’s rise to the top of the National Football Conference has been incredible.
The “Dirty Birds” are going to Houston to play in the 51st Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. Although the Falcons had the highest scoring offense in the NFL, their defense should not go unnoticed. The team has some defensive stars worthy of note, but perhaps none more valuable than Vic Beasley (number 44), who was one of the most formidable foes most offenses had to face this season.
One sports analyst dubbed Beasley as the baddest man in the NFL – and that was “baddest” in the best possible way.
The sportscaster explained, “He (Beasley) has run down Von Miller on the sack list. (Von Miller, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, was named Super bowl MVP after the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers last year in Super Bowl 50 and is the highest paid defensive player in the history of the game.)
“Beasley is terrorizing people. The people in Georgia wanted Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank to get the Bulldog running back, Todd Gurley, in the draft two years ago, but Blank wanted Beasley, who played college ball at Clemson. They got it right by choosing Beasley, because he is unblockable, an absolute monster on defense.”
Vic Beasley attended Adairsville High School, where he was a three-sport standout in football, basketball, and track. Consequently, ESPN rated him the No. 16 athlete in the nation. He was recruited to play football at Clemson and a consensus All-American his junior and senior years. As a senior Beasley broke the all-time school record for career sacks and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Falcons selected Beasley with the eighth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In his second year he has been named First Team All-Pro and led the league with 15.5 sacks.
However, let’s move from the “baddest” to the “best.” Tyler Dunne, writing for Bleacher Report, has described Vic Beasley as “a beacon of light and life.” During his time at Clemson Vic’s father and brother both died and he had to be strong and a source of strength for his mother and other family members. They discovered they could draw from his faith and dependence upon God.
Dunne declares, “He (Beasley) persists as a source of joy to everyone around him. The call him ‘a different bird,’ a ‘devout Christian’ ... and a ‘beacon of light.’”
Vic bought a home for his mom after his father’s death. Dunne describes it by writing, “Everywhere you look are crosses, Bible verses, and other signs of faith that make this home Beasley bought for his family feel more like a church.
“A glistening bronze plate ... reads, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ Whenever Beasley is home, he takes the family to the Olivet Baptist Church 60 miles north in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The pastor’s message awakens something inside of him.
“Beasley tries to be a father figure ... He could preach at a church service at 11 a.m. and then play a game at 6 at night.”
The Falcon’s defensive standout has a history of reaching out to those less fortunate than him. He recently bought new uniforms for Adairsville’s football team.
Adairsville head football coach, Eric Bishop said, “Go ahead and dig and dig and dig all you want. Vic Beasley is as clean as a whistle.”
Character and faith are important to Beasley. He was talking to the students of Hillcrest High School in Greenville, SC, and explained, “My message is basically making sure you’re putting your faith first; and make sure you surround yourself with the right people. It will take you a long way. It will keep you away from negative things.”
Sometimes it enhances the meaning of an athletic event if you know something about the participants. It is good to know that there are those in the sports arena who are unashamed of Christ.