27 June 2014 – While eating chicken, salmon, and just about everything else under the sun, we listened to Junior Miller speak about “Rags, To Riches, To Redemption.” Junior was a country kid from Texas who happened to be a gifted athlete. He went on to play football with the University Of Nebraska, then was picked in the first round of the Draft by the Atlanta Falcons for the 1980 football season. He played there for three years, and then one year for the New Orleans Saints.
During all that time his life was troubled.
He indulged heavily in damaging things. Most of all he was buried in money. By the end of his professional football career he was drunk all day long. He got cut from the Saints after 1984 and hit rock bottom. Junior gave his life to Christ at his lowest point, and when he was cut from the Dallas Cowboys during their training camp he turned his attention to family and dedicated his time to building his wife’s business. Together they created a successful company that allowed them to grow emotionally and raise their two children.
Until she asked for a divorce about 5 years ago.
Junior was on the skids. He was back in Texas and trying to figure out what to do with his life. Back in Midland he began witnessing to kids in juvenile lockup. He began helping out in the community. It was a far cry from the person he had been, because this time he was trying to help those who were just like him growing up. Ever since accepting Christ into his life, he had listened faithfully to the messages that God sent him, and said He never steered him wrong. This time God pointed him to Seattle.
He had never been here.
He had no friends here. He had a car and some cash, driving here and settling in Kirkland. Now he works and witnesses daily, keeping up his strength by doing the muscle work at Costco and Trader Joe’s. He’s happy. And thankful for everything that has come his way. Even the bad stuff, because he learned lessons from the bad stuff. To hear his story, and how he was able to handle a roller coaster life for so long was inspiring and supportive. Recently the Falcons invited him to meet up in Atlanta for a team reunion, which excites him – even though many of his friends and teammates from those days have left this world. “You gotta understand something,” he told us in his big booming voice, “Be thankful every day, because you never know what’s gonna come your way.”
Does he miss playing football?
No, not really he says smiling. “I’ve got everything I need now.”
It was great testimony from a humble man.