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1996 Heisman Trophy Winner
Former pro quarterback for the Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packer
Works with New Orleans ministry Mercy Street Ministries (now relocated in Florida)
Married to Jessica with one son, Jonah
THE QUARTERBACK WITH THE MIDAS TOUCH
Known as the quarterback with the Midas touch, Danny Wuerffel received the highest honor bestowed on any college football player in 1996—The Heisman Trophy. He holds no less than 32 National, Conference and School Records and maintains a legendary status as one of the greatest college football players ever to play the game.
As well as his athleticism, Wuerffel maintained high academic standards and was celebrated for his personal integrity. But with all of his fame and success, Danny has used his position to give back in all the communities that he has lived and played in as a football player. And his dedication to his faith in Jesus Christ is what has anchored his life.
In 1997, Wuerffel was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. In spite of his outstanding achievements and the national attention he received as a result, Wuerffel seemed unfazed by his success. "You know, the world just pounds the message into your brain that if you make enough money and if you're successful in your field, that's all you need. But you can ask just about anybody who's been successful--somehow there always seems to be a longing for something more. I believe we were made to find fulfillment in our relationship with God," he explains. "When we look for it in other places, we come up empty."
Wuerffel got a head start in his search. "I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My father is a chaplain in the air force and my mother has always been active in the church. From the time I was very little, I didn't question God's existence, because we talked to Him every time we ate a meal. He was a very real part of our lives. So as I grew up and went into high school and then college, the question was not 'Does God exist?', but 'To what extent?' What part does He play in my life? What does He want from me? What is my relationship with Him supposed to be like? Those were the questions I wrestled with." In college, out on his own for the first time, Danny began to take a good hard look at his faith. He started studying the Bible for himself and searching for answers to his questions. "From all different angles, God was really drawing me to himself and saying, 'This is the time to get serious!'" Wuerffel recalls. "The biggest change was my understanding of myself in relationship to God. The more I understood how awesome God is, the more I realized how wretched I was. It's a humbling experience to realize what your own nature is, to look at yourself and see selfishness and pride and the attitude that you can just do your own thing. Sometimes it was at subtle levels. Other people might not have noticed it, but I could see it."
While everyone around him was awed by his talent and promise, Danny realized his need for a Savior and decided to surrender his life completely to Jesus Christ. A decision that changed his life forever. No matter what happened in his career -- whether he won the Superbowl or sat on the bench -- he determined to live his life to bring honor to God. "There's a verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 that says 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.' My desire is to acknowledge Him in all my ways -- in my marriage, in my family, in football-- in whatever I'm doing!" he exclaims.
In February 2004, Danny decided to retire from professional football to work in New Orleans with Desire Street Ministries, dedicated to one of America’s toughest and poorest neighborhoods. “It’s difficult to say goodbye to a dream,” he told the press. “At the same time, I’m thankful that I’m not leaving because I have to.” His wife Jessica admits that since Danny retired from football and joined the ministry, she doesn’t miss the crowds and fans that came with his fame. Danny is also a popular speaker, sharing how his experiences playing football have helped shape his life.
DEVASTATED BY KATRINA
Located in the heart of New Orleans, Danny’s home and ministry, Desire Street Ministries, were completely destroyed by the hurricane. They were forced to relocate to Niceville, Florida where they are up and running a boarding school. Many of the children they worked with in New Orleans are finding their way to the school, now their home. They also have staff on-site at the facility in New Orleans working on cleaning and renovating the facility. “As I reflect on the past six weeks and look again at the flooded images of the ministry facility and my home, I’m once again faced with the reality of the devastation of this storm. And yet in the midst of all these images, through God’s grace, I’ve found my eyes “fixed” on something different,” Wuerffel says. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 “In the past, that verse often encouraged me to not worry about throwing an interception or losing a football game. How trivial that seems now. God is doing a new thing as a result of this storm…a big thing. I’m not sure exactly what it is or what it’s going to look like in the end, but I’m certain he’s doing something significant. Sometimes, though, it’s just hard to see it while it’s happening.”
Through the storm and its aftermath, God continues to do incredible things. “It hasn’t been an easy six weeks, but I’ve personally seen God triumph over every major obstacle, one after another, and my personal journey of faith has never been more vibrant,” Danny proclaims.
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