Herbert Lusk, The First NFL Player to Pray During a Game, Dies at 69 After Battle With Cancer

Photo from Greater Exodus Baptist Church’s Instagram

Herbert Lusk, The First NFL Player to Pray During a Game, Dies at 69 After Battle With Cancer

By Movieguide® Staff

While many Christians attribute kneeling and praying during a football game to Tim Tebow, Herbert Lusk first made the public proclamation of faith in 1977.

The former Philadelphia Eagles player, 69, died on Sept. 19 after a battle with cancer. However, many remember his legacy of football and faith.

After he retired from professional play, Lusk returned to the team as the Eagles’ chaplain and pastored at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

Just as he was vocal about his faith on the field, Lusk stood firm in his pro-life values while in ministry.

Lusk previously recalled the famous 1977 prayer in the in-zone after he scored a touchdown in front of 50,000 people.

“As soon as I got there, I dropped down on my knee and prayed. I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus,'” he recalled. “And then I said to myself, ‘It’s about time.”

“The end zone became my pulpit,” he added.

However, God had worked through several things in Lusk’s life to lead him to this moment of faith, including a career-ending injury that God miraculously healed.

“I was the first one [to do it]. It was my way of saying thanks,” Lusk told Ray Didinger in a 2018 interview. “I hurt my knee in junior college, and the doctors said I’d never play football again, but I put my fate in God’s hands. I prayed every day and I knew if my knee healed, it was His will for me to continue playing.”

In 2018 a reporter with WHYY asked Lusk if Christianity could “sometimes alienate players or spectators.”

“Not really. Not our relationship with Jesus Christ because basically what we do is, we love everybody,” was Lusk’s response. “The great commandment is that you should love your Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. It’s impossible to alienate people when you love them.”

Join us in praying for Lusk’s wife, Vickey, and their children and grandchildren.

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