Cedric Peerman has played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine years and is currently with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is married to Hagar, and they have one son and twin girls.
What does your work look like?
We do more than play on Sunday. In the mornings, we’re usually in meetings—special teams, offensive, defensive, and team-wide. We break for lunch before we head to practice for a couple of hours. After practice, we lift and go back into meetings. I try to be home by 5 p.m. every day to help my wife with the kids. It’s a full day.
What’s one way your work has humbled you?
Coming into the league, I only wanted to play running back. I would ask God for a long career, and to be a superstar at that position. Since then I’ve learned there’s nothing wrong with not being a superstar. Today, I make my living as a special teams specialist, and I realize that I probably wouldn’t have made it to nine years trying to be a superstar running back. God used that to humble me, and I’m grateful for it.
Is it difficult to be a believer in the NFL?
Yes! Not just in football, but any workplace. Being a Christian is a hard thing. Being consistent in regular spiritual disciplines while juggling football and family is hard. Also, when I get to work and step into the locker room, the music and sentiments glorified in our locker room are not representative of how I desire to live.
One way my faith has helped me is I’ve learned to depend on God and trust him in uncertainty. Each week of each season you don’t know if you will still have a job. Living like that, with the prospect of being shuffled at any given moment, is hard. But God has used it to strengthen my faith in him and show me his faithfulness. I’ve learned lessons about his character from playing in the NFL that I may have never learned otherwise.
How do you witness brokenness in your work?
When guys don’t have a good game, I notice their disposition changes, and they aren’t their normal selves. It’s particularly easy to see brokenness from that side of things—finding your identity in your performance.
How do you seek to love your neighbor?
When I first came to Cincinnati, I struggled because I didn’t like it. But I quickly realized God sent me here to play football and spread his name among the team and the community. Loving my neighbor is fulfilling the Great Commission among my teammates by sharing the gospel with them. God has given me a platform with my teammates and fans that I want to steward well. I want to use it to the best of my ability.
Editors’ note: TGCvocations is a weekly column that asks practitioners how they integrate their faith and their work. Interviews are condensed and edited.
Jason Cook is associate pastor of preaching at Fellowship Memphis. He earned his MDiv from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he helped to build Iron City Church, a multi-ethnic ministry in one of America’s most segregated cities. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship. He is married to Courtney, and they have two children, Charlie and Cager. You can follow him on Twitter.