Tim Shaw is a guy with grit in every sense of the word. Not only is he a professional athlete (currently with the Tennessee Titans) and in peak physical condition, he is also a great man and role model. I had the chance to meet Tim when he volunteered with the organization I was working for in Haiti. We asked if he would be willing to answer a few questions for us and so we shot emails back and forth to each other, the results can be found below.
Describe the moment that you found out you were drafted.
Being Drafted was actually a tough thing. The waiting, the anticipation, the hype, all the nonsense and comments from people who thought they knew and didn’t know anything. It was all a mess. I was told that I would be drafted, but God only knew when and to whom. I didn’t think I was going in the first round, so I planned a golf outing with my brothers. The draft takes so long that we played a whole round of golf and i don’t know if the first round was even over… then I had some folks over to the house: just my family and closest friends. We waited and waited. in 2007, they did the first through third rounds on saturday, and then the rest on sunday. It was the worst. we waited and waited, and then went to bed. The next day we waited and waited. Nobody knew what to say. So when I finally got that call from Carolina, I was barely even happy. The overwhelming emotion was relief! I was happy to be going to carolina, but just glad that it was time to get back to football and done with all the nonsense.
Is it difficult to be a believer and an NFL player?
It’s difficult to be a believer in the world, and maybe even moreso a believer in the NFL. There are so many temptations out there, and even more available for a young man with money. Anything we could think of is available, and people want to give it to us to get close to us. So it’s hard to live for the right things and make the right choices, but just like everybody else, we do have choices. We can choose to avoid what we know is wrong and say no when we should. Being in the NFL just highlights what we already are as men*.
What has been the greatest moment in your football career so far?
My greatest moment in football is still winning the Big Ten Championship in 2005 at Penn State. Still waiting on that playoff run and super bowl championship!
Concussions are a big news story these days. How worried are you about head injuries? Does the risk of one affect how you play on the field?
I do worry about my health after football, but I have been blessed in that area thus far. Head injuries are a concern, especially because what I do best is hit. I just try and be conscious of where I place my head on a hit, but sometimes I am just reckless and gotta do what I gotta do. I still play all out, but I am careful not to use my head if I can help it.
You played for a legend at Penn St. what was that like?
Playing for Joe Paterno was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was like that grandpa in everybodys family that said anyhing he wanted and did what he wanted and everybody loved him for it. You all have that crazy relative. He set such a standard there that it was an honor to be a part of what he had built. I have great memories and stories of Penn State and coach Paterno.
How have male leaders, coaches, family, friends etc played a role in your career?
Male leaders have played an enormous role in my life and career. I still seek out male mentors wherever I am. the Titans chaplin, Reggie Pleasant, is my current mentor. he disciples me in the ways of the Bible and jesus. Throughout my life I have been blessed with men who have poured into my life what I needed to know. Starting with my father and grandfather, these men modeled what it means to live for Christ, daily. Putting others above themselves and being obedient to God. I’m so blessed to have had men such as Tim Mcgill at Penn State, Mike Bunkley in Carolina, Anthony Johnson in jacksonville, Ray Mcelroy in Chicago and now Reggie. Without them, I wouldn’t be nearly as far along in my spiritual journey.
Your Wikipedia page says you are a “jigsaw enthusiast.” Care to explain?
I like jigsaw puzzles. What of it??
You have played for several different teams so far in your career. Has that put any type of pressure or stress on your life? I think that a lot of people just assume that all NFL players live a life of luxury, what is it like to be in the league and be a “normal guy”?
Getting cut and playing for different teams in the NFL has put all types of stress in my life. It puts pressure at an alltime high, every day, to preform so that I can continue to live my dream of playing ball. The NFL is tough. Competition at the highest level. I fight for everything I can. Every day is a battle. What it has taught me is that God is in full control of my life. He can make me a starter and pro bowler tomorrow or he can end my career. Once I got ahold of that concept, all I have to do is go out and do my best and God will handle the details. It’s freeing. there is a lot of luxury in the NFL, but there are a lot of guys like me who deal with instability and have been to 4 teams in 4 years and it’s not easy. I don’t know if I’m normal, but I know that I’m not the stereotype and you won’t find me on Mtv Cribs. I also know that God has worked wonders through me and I love every day in the NFL!! My security is in God and not this game or this team.
Tell us about your charity work and camps both overseas and here in America.
God has put it on my heart to serve. I believe that we are all at our best when we are serving, putting others above ourselves. I was blessed to go on 4 mission trips so far. Two to San Jose Costa Rica and twice to Haiti. The costa rica trips have been with NFL players and chaplins with an organization called Score International. We serve the people by putting on football camps and clinics and then sharing the gospel with them and testimonies. God uses football to reach people for his Kingdom. We also incorporate building projects to support the local missionaries there and also give food and clothing to some needy people. We just love the people there and what God is doing. I’ve had two different Haiti experiences, both very different. My first trip was with a group of 8 of my best friends. What an awesome experience to serve with those you love!!! We did all types of projects on that first trip. Loving the people was the most important, spending time playing with the kids and talking with them. We did some painting of an orphanage, we did a couple construction projects, providing some families with animals, and lots of random things supporting local missionaries and the people. The nationals on these trips end up blessing us more than we could ever bless them. once again, God blesses us when we serve.
I’ve put on a youth football camp for the past three years at my high school in Livonia Michigan. It has been a huge blessing, as we teach the kids some football and athletic skills, but also teach them life lessons. I get some great men and coaches to come and pour a good example on these kids. I get some old high school and college teammates to help out and even a pro or two to stop by and inspire. We have been able to reach over 100 kids for the past three years. It’s tough to get it going each year, but God blesses the camp with a great turnout and I believe it is impactful.
I had the opportunity to witness you and some other guys working in Haiti. You brought a ton of Nike shoes and gave them to kids in the community. Why do you think that it is important to do things like that?
I think it’s important to help people. I believe that we as humans were made to help each other and thats the example that Jesus gave us during his time on earth. So giving shoes to the less fortunate is just a small example of what we can do. We are so blessed as Americans and have so much. We need to recognize needs around us and bless others.
Of all the guys you have practiced and played against who is the most difficult to tackle?
I’ve had to tackle some great players. I played with Devin Hester, and I’m glad that I didn’t have to tackle him. I’ve tackled Maurice Jones Drew and he might be the toughest guy to get down. He is build like a thick trash can and it’s almost like you can’t wrap him up. A guy like Desean Jackson is lightening fast but I’ve tackled him, but if you miss….he’s gone!! and Darren Sproles is like a jackrabbit… tough to get your hands on.
Give us your opinion on what it means to be a man.
Being a man: is not power, money, sex. Being a man: is Character, confidence, Doing the right thing. Knowing when to speak and when to keep your mouth closed. handling your business and being responsible. Leading.
It is refreshing to know that there are guys out there like Tim. I know that I personally took a completely different view of NFL players after meeting Tim and his friends in Haiti. When we first met it was during the NFL lockout and to hear those guys discuss their lives made the game much more human to me. I think part of being a man with grit is having self-control, something that we all struggle with. As Tim noted in the interview, there are a lot of temptations in the NFL and I think that it shows real grit to be able to withstand those temptations and pressures. Yes the average NFL player makes more money than most of us but that does not mean that life is easier for them, or anyone else that makes a lot of money. We could all do well to use Tim as an example as we go through our everyday lives. We would like to thank Tim for taking the time out of his insanely busy schedule to talk with us. You can follow Tim on Twitter at @TShawsTruth
*all bolded statements were done so by myself for emphasis.