“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:24
Selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cooper Kupp has been an electric receiver in the NFL since his debut with the Rams. A star receiver at Eastern Washington University, Kupp’s success at the collegiate level quickly translated into the NFL, where he finished the 2021 season as the first receiver since 2005 to lead the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. As he continues to make big plays both on and off the field, it has been the consistent support and encouragement from family and faith that have gotten Kupp through tough times. Whether it’s on the field at the Super Bowl or suffering the pain of a devastating injury, Kupp places his trust and hope in God.
The origin of Kupp’s love for football comes from his father, Craig Kupp. A former quarterback, Craig also has experienced the ups and downs of a football player. But he also views it as an opportunity to give back.
“I believe God calls us to use the gifts and talents He’s given us to the best of our ability. My hope is that whatever I’m doing, my life reflects Christ and points to Him.”
That translates to Craig’s role as a husband and a father as well, as Craig says “Despite my imperfections, He has smoothed some of the edges off to allow me to love my wife and kids in a way that they know their husband and dad loves them deeply.”
The support and encouragement from his father has helped mold Cooper Kupp into the player and person that he is today. Cooper has remained focused on living out his faith both on and off the field, especially in his role as a husband and a father. Married in 2015 and a father in 2018, Cooper has committed to making an impact in his home.
“God speaks freely and openly in the Bible of the role that a man of God plays as a husband and a father. He does not mince words when He speaks of the importance of loving your wife as Christ loved the church. And that is a love that is one of service and sacrifice.”
That same dedication and commitment also carries over onto the field as well as he tries to live out his faith while playing the sport he loves. Kupp has quickly developed into being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. However, that did not come without its trials.
In November of the 2018 season, Kupp suffered a torn ACL that caused him to miss the final 6 games of the season. Although it could have been seen as a roadblock to success, Kupp focused on using the injury to grow and come back stronger.
“Football is a violent sport. It’s the nature of the game. In the same way, it’s also sporadic and oftentimes out of your control. I couldn’t imagine stepping onto a football field and not having a full body-mind-spirit belief that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. My faith in God and His plan for me allows me to play freely without doubt or fear.”
That fearlessness is evident on the field as he evades defenders and consistently scores for the Rams. One of Coach Sean McVay’s most trusted assets, Kupp has become an incredibly feared weapon to opposing teams.
Cooper’s sister, Katrina, says that the role faith has played in her and her brothers lives has been monumental for her and her journey. A soccer player at Eastern Washington, Katrina says that the foundation of faith her and her brothers had was instrumental.
“At a young age my brothers and I were shown the love of God through our parents and grandparents. We have always been supported and encouraged with scripture and prayer, and are still today reminded of our individual gifts from God.”
Now an athlete herself at Eastern Washington, she carries a similar mindset to Cooper of always using her gifts to give back.
“My faith is a constant reminder that I am a child of God and nothing can separate me from his Grace. Even with setbacks I am reminded that the path God has made for us was never promised to be easy, but that in trusting him we are promised rest.”
As Cooper takes the field every Sunday, he plays with a purpose greater than himself. He uses football as an opportunity and platform, not to build up accolades and fortunes, but to give back to others and praise God for the gifts that he has. Cooper has solidified his name into being one of the NFL’s top receivers, but it is his impact off the field that is leaving the greatest impression as he plays each Sunday with no fear.