From pigskin to preaching


Former BGSU football captain finds new purpose on Sundays.
Rob Warren grew up wanting to play in the National Football League.
And though the Bowling Green resident fell just short of fulfilling his childhood dream of pigskin glory,
he still more than makes an impact on Sundays.
The former BGSU football captain has seen his share of adversity in life, such as when injuries finally
caught up, ending his career prematurely and spiraling him into depression.
Now at 26, he is focusing on sharing his personal story of triumph and struggle to show that no matter
how discouraged a person gets, there is a purpose to life.
?It?s being able to share what I?ve been through in my life with others,? Warren said.
?I think (sharing with) high school and college kids is where I have a connection and that?s the
generation that?s going to impact this world.?
Warren is currently employed by Great Commission Ministries.
He has a variety of roles for h2o church, which serves the BGSU Christian community. Among his roles
include preaching during h2o?s Sunday services, leading men?s Bible studies, and serving as a mentor.

He also serves as the Perrysburg High School football team chaplain.
He works mainly with young people, college undergraduates and graduate students.
?To share that with them, I feel blessed to be a part of that,? Warren said.
?To do what I?m doing doesn?t even feel like work … I would do this regardless.?
His main goal in life, along with starting a family with his wife of just over a year, is to share the
teachings of Jesus.
?I love the church,? Warren said. ?I love God, I guess you could say.?
He graduated from BGSU with a degree in integrated social studies, and now he is studying to complete his
master?s degree at Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, hoping to one day start a church and
have his own congregation.
But given Warren?s situation just a few years ago, after he was not drafted into the NFL due to a series
of devastating knee injuries, joining the church was the furthest thing on his mind.
Football had been a way of life for Warren since he was in grade school, and it was not as if his dream
of playing in the NFL was far-fetched.
He earned multiple All-Mid-American Conference honors and was named to the Lombardi Award Watch List,
which is the award given to Division I college football?s best offensive lineman.
He started three seasons (2003-05) and protected the blind sides of standout BG quarterbacks Josh Harris
and Omar Jacobs, playing perhaps the most important position (left tackle) on some very dominant Falcon
offensive lines. He was listed at 6-41?2, 299 pounds in his draft profile on
Warren played in two bowl games, including the Falcons? 28-24 win over Northwestern in the 2003 Motor
City Bowl. He played that game, and basically the entire season up to that point, with a fractured leg.

?I realized that my whole identity was wrapped up in football since like the fourth grade. My life was to
play on Sundays. When that was gone I was depressed,? Warren said. ?I just got into a lot of drinking
and drugs. I basically hit rock bottom.?
But awaking one morning after a fight with a friend that led to the police being involved, Warren said he
finally had enough of the way he was living.
?I remember waking up the next morning and feeling so bad … I went to church and felt bad. I went to
bed that night and still felt bad,? Warren said. ?I went home and happened to open my Bible and the
first thing I read was a passage that said, ?As we grow more closer to God our sins become more evident
to us.?
?Right there I felt like God kicked me in the face.?
From that point Warren has been reaching out to people, not only to share his faith, but simply to listen
and share his experience so that they can take what they want from it.
?You sit down with a person and they?ll say, ?I screwed up, or I?ve done this, or I?m not a good
person,?? he said. ?It?s like, if you knew where I?ve been or what I?ve done you wouldn?t be sitting
here talking to me.?

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