After a season-ending injury derailed what may have been his career season and potential MVP campaign, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins told the media that his NFL career is really just God's career for him to steward.
The 35-year-old football star tore his Achilles tendon while playing the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 29.
During a Nov. 17 press conference addressing his injury, the devout Christian quarterback, the son of an Evangelical pastor, shared how he is thankful for the love of God and the support of friends and family that has kept him strong during this season. He said he is taking life "one day at a time."
"You don't quite know how many people are in your corner or how many people are praying for you and cheering you on until something like this happens," Cousins said.
"It's been fun watching our football team win and play at a really high level and kind of continue this run. … Just excited to kind of see where the season goes, even though I'm a bystander. I think it's still a lot of excitement up ahead."
Despite being in mostly high spirits, the quarterback said that he is somewhat disappointed about how the injury might potentially impact the trajectory of his professional football career.
"I'm still mad, you know. I'm still disappointed. But then you go right back to all the things you know. … I can't change it. I got to move forward. That's what we signed up for when we step between the white lines, and I'm fortunate to have come this far and not had surgery in football," Cousins said.
"I just believe … there's more of a story up ahead. … I really believe [that] in the core of my being. And I don't know what that'll be."
Even with some disappointment, the athlete said he will continue surrendering his life and career to God, as he always has.
"I'm excited to kind of write the next chapter and see what God wants to do with it, whatever it may be. And just kind of be reminded, again, that you know, I've kind of got my career. It's not my career. You know, it's kind of His career that I steward. And I just got to surrender myself and let Him lead where He wants to go," the former Michigan State University standout said.
"When that's a torn Achilles, I have to accept it just as much as if it's a win on Monday Night Football. You know, it goes both ways. And I'm just a steward of what He gives me, and when He gives me a torn Achilles, I got to steward that."
While he does not have an exact date of when he will be cleared to play football again, Cousins said that the time it takes to recover from a torn Achilles tendon appears to be shorter than what it once was years prior.
"I think people are concerned to give you too concrete of an idea because then you'll start pushing it when you don't need to be. People have been a little hesitant to make it all clear. … Because [the time it takes to recover with that particular injury is] different for everybody," Cousins said.
"It seems to be a procedure and an injury that the recovery time seems to be shortening and shortening. You know it used to be a 12-month deal. It was a nine-month deal, and then Cam Akers was back in five months," he added.
"It's heading in the right direction as far as an injury that you can really come back from and be really strong afterwards."
Cousins said he would be lying if he said he didn't wrestle with his faith immediately following the injury. However, he said he is now "learning to play the sport holding my hands open and saying, 'God, whatever you want to do, if that means a torn Achilles, I've got to accept that.'"
"I'd like to tell you, I'm a mature enough person to accept it with no problem. … I've had my fist up a little bit in the last couple of weeks, you know, in my prayer times with God. But I'm working through that. And, again, I think ultimately, I'll look back and say, 'you know, God allowed that to happen and … I am where I am someday because of, not in spite of.'"
Before the trade deadline, the Vikings traded to the Arizona Cardinals for quarterback Josh Dobbs, another Christian, to serve as Cousins' replacement.
Last February, Cousins was awarded the Bart Starr Award, which honors his leadership and character on and off the field. The award was presented at the 36th annual Super Bowl Breakfast — an NFL-sanctioned event hosted by the Christian nonprofit Athletes in Action, a ministry of Cru.
"Time and again, God has proven Himself faithful," Cousins said at the time.
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post.