Many NFL teams have chaplains. However, unlike the Seahawks or the Ravens, the Patriots have never been known for their spirituality.
That was before the Aaron Hernandez situation racked the team. In response, the Patriots hired Jack Easterby, who, as their chaplain, had walked the Kansas City Chiefs through the murder suicide of player Javon Belcher..
Unlike many team chaplains who are local pastors doing volunteer or part-time work as a chaplain, Easterby is full-time with an office close to Bill Belichick’s. He hosts Bible study, works coaches’ hours in his office counseling players and their wives, throws passes in practice to Darrelle Revis and sometimes even jumps in on scout-team drills. When he’s not listening, he’s texting. When he’s not texting, he’s writing players and coaches individual notes, recapping their personal goals and reminding them of how thankful he is to know them. He prefers to be called a character coach, not a chaplain, because he doesn’t push religion on anyone. In the following video, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham refers to him as the “soul” of New England and a “soul” coach.
Tom Brady calls him “just a great person and friend.” He goes on to say, “”You feel a special connection with him and with his genuine caring for all the people in his life.” This is Tom Brady talking, not someone known necessarily for his relational sensitivity. He even tells friends Easterby is one of the main reasons for the Patriots’ success this past year.
As I read this article and watched this video, honestly, I was stunned. The story slapped me and reminded me that all men, no matter how big or strong or macho they are, long to be loved, to be cared for in their trials, to be listened to and known. This reminder pointed my heart to The Gospel and the place where the need to be loved is most testified to and most satisfied.
Thanks, Jack Easterby for your life and example that points me to the great “lover of my soul,” Jesus.
Credit: Bob Schindler – The Executive Director of our sister ministry, Church Sports Outreach
Submitted by Ken Cross.