Kirk Cousins has talked frequently about his surprise upon being drafted by the Redskins in the fourth round last spring, and his disappointment about the fact that he wouldn’t be competing for a starting role.
But I’m not sure he’s done so as honestly as he does in his new book, “Game Changer: Faith, Football & Finding Your Way,” which goes on sale on June 25. The book’s last chapter is about the draft and Cousins’s time with the Redskins, and after writing about his preparations and expectations — and the biblical verses his father read before the second round began — Cousins gets to round four, when his cell phone finally rang.
“Kirk, this is Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins,” Cousins writes. “We will be selecting in two picks and we’re going to draft you.”
My response was something like: ‘Really? Are you sure you want to do that?’ After four months of intensely working toward this moment, it was not the response I was expecting of myself….
A minute later, my selection was announced on television, and I was indeed a Washington Redskin. And then I walked out of the room….I was hoping for the chance to compete for a starting position soon, but I would not have that opportunity in Washington, and that was very disappointing. Needless to say, I was struggling to make sense of God’s plan.
Cousins then details the shocked reaction among media members, quoting both a Washington Post headline and a columnist, in addition to several other national analysts who helped make his selection one of the biggest stories of the draft. But as the chapter goes on, he writes about how a close friend had recommended Cousins make specific prayer requests before the draft, and how he later reviewed his list.
On that list, I had written and prayed for a head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach with whom I could have strong relationships and feel good about working alongside. The day after I was picked, the Redskins offensive coordinator and quarterback coach both called to say that they were excited to work with me and develop me and that they would take the time to do so. When I arrived in D.C., Coach Shanahan called me into his office and communicated a similar theme. That meant a lot. It also meant that one of my chief prayer concerns was possibly being answered.
One of my other prayer requests had been for a strong local church near my new team. Right after I was drafted, my dad got a text from a pastoral colleague in D.C. who told him about a church just a few minutes from the Redskins facility where I could get great Bible teaching and fellowship with a lot of my Christian teammates. When I arrived in D.C., one of the secretaries immediately told me about the same church and how she and several Redskins players and employees have made it their church home. It appeared prayer request number two was being answered.
The third request was for a strong relationship with a veteran quarterback, and Rex Grossman helped make that happen. Cousins concludes that the only casualties of his surprise draft selection were “money and ego,” and that “I’m doing the best I can to trust God with my dreams.”
And, needless to say, this is only a small part of the book, which is mostly about his non-professional life, and his faith and values.