The chaplain of the Super Bowl-bound Cincinnati Bengals says the team is made up of "men of integrity" who seem to play better when the game is tight.
Vincent Rey was hired as the Bengals' new chaplain during the 2021 offseason – merely three seasons after he retired in 2018 following a nine-year football career with the same franchise. A former linebacker, Rey started in 50 games during a career that began in 2010.
Today, Rey is more concerned about the team's spiritual health than he is about victories – although he wants to see them win, too.
Rey made the comments during an interview with Jade McCarthy on an episode of Sports Spectrum's Weekly Slant.
"I'm happy they're winning," Rey said. "But what I'm thinking of is them 10 years from now, 20 years from now when football's done – that they know who they are. Football is what they did, but it's not who they are. ... They're human beings, [they're] the crowning creation of God. And secondly, if they are following after the Lord, then they are children of the Most High God."
The Bengals opened the playoffs by defeating Oakland in the wild card round before upsetting top-seeded Tennessee and second-seeded Kansas City. Cincinnati's wins over the Titans and Chiefs came on the road and on the last play of the game.
"This team has a lot of character, men of integrity," said Rey, who credited a "great job by the coaching staff and front office for assembling the team together."
"It can be difficult when you get ... players from different places and bring them together. ... However, they've done a great job of doing so. … And when it comes down to it when there's pressure situations, and the game is tight, when you watch the team, it's almost as if they get even more comfortable during those times because they've... been there a lot."
Rey said he's "thankful" he's able to serve as a chaplain for his former team. His goal, he said, is "to always bring them along, and to make sure that they're being built up to go build someone else up."
"I realize that it's an honor to partner with the Creator of all things," he said. "I get to partner with Him to put someone's hand in the hand of Jesus."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jamie Squire/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.