NASHVILLE (BP) — Brett Kern may make a living playing football, but it was a game of softball that changed his life.
During an intramural co-ed softball game at the University of Toledo he tagged a young woman sliding into home plate. Kern looked at his roommate and said, “I am going to marry that woman someday.”
He wasn’t joking. Kern and his wife Tiffany celebrated their 10th anniversary this past summer, just one of the blessings God has bestowed on the Pro Bowl punter for the Tennessee Titans.
“I am thankful to wake up every morning to my beautiful wife. We have three beautiful kids,” Kern said. “That the Lord sent His Son to die on the cross for us so we can have eternal life with Him is [also] a beautiful thing. My goal is to share His light. I want people to see the Lord through what I do.”
Saved at 6 years old, Kern, 32, rededicated his life to Christ while he and Tiffany were dating. He said he has been growing ever since.
For the last two years Kern has been going through the Bible-in-a-year plan. That daily reading is teaching Kern “to put my full trust in the Lord in everything, not just 99 percent but that final 1 percent. The Lord wants us to put our trust in Him 100 percent.”
He also reads the devotional book by Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling” before work each day.
“I have been through that book about five times. It’s amazing how each year different things impact you in different ways and what the Lord is trying to put on your heart or trying to show you as you get in the Word and spend time with Him.”
‘Play for the Lord’
Some of Kern’s favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5–6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
For Kern it is faith first, then family and football.
“I play for the Lord. He is the One who blessed me to play this game,” Kern noted. “He has given me the talent and ability to do this. It would be a sin not to give it all I have for Him. The Lord has blessed me immensely to kick a football, and He has blessed me in other areas.”
Kern’s 10-year career punt average is 45.8 yards. His longest career punt was 79 yards against Indianapolis on Dec. 28, 2014. In 2017 he went to his first Pro Bowl after a career-high 49.71-yard average. His longest punt last season was 74 yards.
Prior to the 2018 season he had 760 punts for 34,773 yards.
“Brett is one of the best punters in the league,” said Titans placekicker Ryan Succop. “He had an amazing season last year. He has been so good every year he has been here.”
Other Titans teammates agree.
Wide receiver Luke Stocker said Kern’s mental approach is important.
“Where he places it and drops it, it’s very technical. Him being mentally strong and if he has a bad kick here and there, he can overcome that to get the next kick and put his punt spot-on-the-money for us. I see that as a big strength of his,” Stocker said.
Kern calls himself a perfectionist, which he says is both a great attribute and his worst enemy.
“That is the reason why I have done well but … trying to battle that day in and day out is something that I am always turning over to the Lord,” he said.
Along with punting, Kern wants to make a spiritual impact on players.
Through the way he treats players, the music he listens to and what he says, he wants others to see God’s light.
“We are not perfect and we sin, but trying to shine His light the best I can, I want people to see something different and what makes me tick,” Kern said.
Succop calls it a blessing to work with Kern. They encourage each other, study the Bible together and push each other while being there and praying for each other. They also clown around together.
“It’s cool to come to work with guys you really enjoy being around. That makes things that much better…. We have different personalities that mesh well together.”
While many people’s perceptions of NFL players may be that they find value and worth in material things, Kern takes pride in not getting wrapped up in that.
“Knowing this is my calling and this is where the Lord has me, I am supposed to be different and shine His light,” he said.