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“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

-Psalm 32:8



For Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy, perspective has always been key. A highly touted athlete from the beginning, Murphy has been praised for his toughness, instincts, and his leadership. Throughout his career, which has been accompanied by starring at the University of Washington before becoming a starter in all 16 games for the Arizona Cardinals his rookie year, Byron Murphy has been guided by his faith and the support of those around him.

Byron Murphy has had a ball in his hands since he could walk. A natural athlete, Murphy was named the Arizona Cardinals High School Player of the Year in 2015, his senior year. A multi-sport athlete, Byron’s gifts were evident. Murphy surprised many with his decision to play college football at the University of Washington. However, throughout his time there he became a star and overcame an injury on his way to becoming one of the top defensive backs in the 2019 draft. Throughout that development, faith has played a pivotal role in molding Byron into who he is today.

Byron’s mother, Shannon, says that making faith a priority became an important part of her role as a mother. Shannon says she felt a pull towards God in her late twenties, and over the course of the next ten years she really began to seek God and understand his love. Since then, she says she has continued to grow in her own faith and with Byron in their walk together. “As a mother, I am determined to make sure my children understand the importance of knowing and loving God. The power in having faith is beautiful. There is nothing in this world more powerful than God. If something happens that is not in a perfect world, or is a set back, it is because God is protecting my children from something else. He is working behind the scenes in ways we cannot see or understand at the moment, but faith assures me there is a reason and I trust it. I do not question God’s reasoning, I just know there is a reason.” Now looking towards Byron’s 3rd season in the NFL, that faith has continued to grow for him more than ever.

Although things were not always easy for Byron, whose father was in prison for most of his childhood, he says that his two cousins, both of whom have Morquio syndrome (a rare form of dwarfism), have kept him grounded and reminded of what matters most. He says, “Faith started in middle school for me. I started praying for everyone I loved, but mostly for my two cousins Justin and Kiki. They both have a rare form of dwarfism. I went from walking, running, and playing with Justin to one day he could not walk anymore to a wheelchair. Same with Kiki. They have been by my side since I was born. I started praying for them in middle school. They are my number 1 fans, cousins, everything.” His cousins helped him develop in his faith, which he says continues to be key for him on a daily basis and every time he takes the field. “Faith is everything in football. I was injured in college, but my faith kept me positive. I came back my next season and had the best season of my college career. I pray before every game. I know I am a child of God.”

For Byron, the number 33 has also become a major point of significance for him and his career. The number that was on his jersey for his first 2 seasons in the NFL and the approximate number of years Jesus was on earth, he says it was a reminder of who he is today. “I was supposed to be picked in the first round, which stops at 32. My entire family waited with me all day and my name was not picked. When everyone came back on day two for the second round I was picked number 33. My mom was crying saying that’s confirmation son, I suddenly felt like I got picked number 1 overall. I once again knew God is amazing. It was a reminder of how much He loved me. It’s a blessing to be in the NFL and blessings come from God, who is my number 1.” For Byron, throughout the highs and amidst the setbacks, he says he trusts that God is in control. “During our seasons there are always ups and downs. So many things can go wrong, but with faith I give it to God. It eases my mind. I pray and walk in faith on and off the field. On and off season. I know my faith has gotten me through. I will never put anything or anyone in front of God. Live this life man and dreams do come true.”

Although the future is something that is uncertain, Byron Murphy remains confident and grounded knowing that God is in control. Byron’s mom, Shannon, says that she is so proud of who Byron is today and the love he has for others. “He walks in faith. Byron loves God. He knows you do not make it into the NFL without God. Byron has a huge heart. He will not pass a person in need without finding a way to reach out the window and help. He loves to help people that truly need help. He has a beautiful heart and soul.”

 

Ethan Kruse

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