Poppinga, 31, served his mission in Uruguay. Being the only Mormon on the Packers has led to some “insightful and engaging discussions,” he said.
“It’s not about the label or religion you belong to, it’s the uniqueness of the lifestyle," Poppinga said. "It’s an adventure in terms of how guys look at you. I wear that badge of honor with pride.”
Since coming into the league, Poppinga has been asked to learn new positions and has had to work for playing time. He learned to see adversity as a blessing and his goals revolve around self-improvement. He is in the process of writing a book about the principles he has discovered over his career and is considering as a title “The True Spirit of Competition.”
“The church is an unbelievable organization in the sense it guides you and gives you the tools to handle every situation. In an adverse situation without those tools, you might want to give up,” said Poppinga, who has had many opportunities to teach the gospel in his ward. “The church arms us with a number of lessons, tools, resources, principles, stories, experiences that have really been impactful in every aspect of my life. Without the church, there is no way I would be able to play at this high level.”
Mormons in the NFL
Al Afalava, DB, Colts, Oregon State
John Beck, QB, Redskins, BYU
*Austin Collie, WR, Colts, BYU
Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins, Utah State
Kevin Curtis, WR, Chiefs, Utah State
Stewart Bradley, LB, Eagles, Nebraska
John Denney, LS, Dolphins, BYU
*Jonathan Fanene, DL, Bengals, Utah
Aaron Francisco, DB, Colts, BYU
*Max Hall, QB, Cardinals, BYU
Todd Heap, TE, Ravens, Arizona State
*Eric Heitmann, OL, 49ers, Stanford
Chris Hoke, DL, Steelers, BYU
Bryan Kehl, LB, Rams, BYU
Brett Keisel, DL, Steelers, BYU
*Maake Kemoeatu, DL, Redskins, Utah
Paul Kruger, DL, Ravens, Utah
*Spencer Larsen, FB, Broncos, Arizona
Deuce Lutui, OL, Cardinals, Southern California
*Marcus Mailei, FB, Saints, Weber State
Brandon Manumaleuna, TE, Bears, Arizona
Garrett Mills, TE, Bengals, Tulsa
Fili Moala, DL, Colts, Southern California
Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs, Iowa
Haloti Ngata, DL, Ravens, Oregon
David Nixon, LB, Rams, BYU
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens, BYU
*Brady Poppinga, LB, Packers, BYU
Sione Pouha, DT, Jets, Utah
Naufahu Tahi, FB, Vikings, BYU
*Harvey Unga, RB, Bears, BYU
*Fui Vakapuna, RB, Bengals, BYU
Eric Weddle, DB, Chargers, Utah
Practice squad players
Dallas Reynolds, C, Eagles, BYU
Tim Toone, WR, Lions, Weber State
Travis Bright, OL, Cowboys, BYU
Manase Tonga, RB, Raiders, BYU
J.D. Folsom, LB, Buccaneers, Weber State
Shawn Murphy, OL, Broncos, Utah State
Fenuki Tupou, OL, Eagles, Oregon
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