Before he hits the field, Jerry Attaochu finds time to have one very important conversation with his biggest and most influential fan.
The Chargers rookie linebacker told U-T San Diego that he calls his mom, Comfort, to pray in the hours before every game, often repeating the word “amen.”
“I say probably at least 10 of them,” Attaochu said. “She prays long sometimes. If you’re my roommate, you hear me say, ‘Amen. Amen. Amen.’ I’m praying with my mom.”
Comfort works in Washington, D.C., as a homeless outreach social worker. On Monday, prior to her son’s NFL debut, she stepped out to continue a tradition that began during Attaochu’s freshman year in college.
“Every time I pray for him, I pray for him with all my heart — with passion,” Comfort said. “I’m thankful for what God is doing.”
Attaochu, a devout Christian born into a Nigerian family, says the prayer — which “relates to his health, that of those around him and, she says, for him to glorify God with his abilities” — helps get his mind right.
“It keeps everything in perspective,” Attaochu said. “That’s really what keeps me calm. I can just go in and be confident. I know what I’m supposed to do. The week leading up to the game, it’s (about) film study, practicing, conditioning. That’s the bulk of preparation. But before games, you want to be as confident as possible.”
Attaochu’s abilities shined under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The second-round pick recorded a strip-sack and blocked a punt. The impact plays translated to 10 points for the Chargers, who went on to lose, 18-17, to the Cardinals.
If this was a sign of things to come, Attaochu could have a very bright future in the NFL. And, from the sounds of it, he’d have Comfort to thank.
(Photo credit: Chargers.com)
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