Mormons in the NFL: Headed to the Super Bowl

Published: Monday, Jan. 31 2011 6:00 a.m. MST

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

*Injured reserve

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

e-mail: ttoone@desnews.com

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