PITTSBURGH — Promising young athletes are putting lucrative sports careers on hold to serve Mormon missions.
In a recent story, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the challenges facing college students hoping to pursue professional football careers and what it means to sacrifice two years that are critical for developing their game.
"Getting to the NFL is tough," the story said. "Getting to the NFL on the path taken by athletes who also have chosen the path of the Mormon missionary requires toughness most can’t comprehend."
At the age of 24, Marvin Philip is the Pittsburgh Steelers' oldest rookie. The former University of California football player left college at the age of 19 to spend two years serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I felt it was something I needed to do," said Philip when asked why he would put football on hold during college. "I never looked back and I’m happy that I did it."
Philip is one of a few NFL players who opted to put their football aspirations on hold in order to serve for the Church. Others include Philip’s teammate Chris Hoke and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Chad Lewis.