Clint Gresham: Corpus Christi’s own superstar
By: Sarah Tindall
Clint Gresham is Corpus Christi’s own superstar. The Seattle Seahawks long snapper has a Super Bowl ring, but before the NFL came calling, the 28-year-old grew up in Lamar Park and attended St. James Episcopal School.
No. 49, a Seahawk since 2010, started playing football as a student at Hamlin Middle School, where he and his team won the city championship, and then followed it by playing on the powerhouse Ray High School football and track teams before going on to play for Texas Christian University during his college career.
The road to the NFL has been an interesting one for Gresham, who credits all of his success as a gift from God, whom he has seen steering his life as he navigates the ups and downs of his highly competitive field.
In high school, he was encouraged to quit playing football because he suffered so many injuries, including a broken ankle, broken arms and even heart trouble. But Gresham was determined to continue to play, so he learned to snap by watching a VHS tape, and he and his dad worked tirelessly in the backyard honing his skills.
He graduated from Ray in 2005, deciding on Oklahoma as his first choice for college ball. “I turned down a scholarship at TCU to walk on at Oklahoma,” Gresham says. “I thought it was the better opportunity, but they told me they’d put me on scholarship and never did, and after a year of a tough experience, I transferred to TCU and spent a great four years there.”
The NFL draft began with a bang: Gresham was the only snapper invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010. But just as with his college choice, his first team wouldn’t last. He spent three months in the fall of 2010 with the New Orleans Saints before being dropped – and thinking his whole career was over.
“When I was driving back to my home in Fort Worth after New Orleans let me go, I thought I had missed the opportunity to play professional ball,” he recalls. “I was dejected and trying to figure out what God had planned for me.”
But the disappointment only lasted a few days. The day after returning home, the call came that changed his life. It was Coach Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, offering him a spot on the team. “I went from the lowest low to the highest high,” Gresham says. “It was such a whirlwind. I packed a bag and flew out there that afternoon, and the coach’s son picked me up at 12:30 at night from the airport. Coach called my cell phone when we were down in baggage claim, welcoming me to the team.”
It was a surreal moment for Gresham, who wanted to play for Carroll at USC and was now getting his chance in Seattle, but he has always seen it as all part of God’s plan for him.
The rest is history. Gresham has now played five seasons for the Seahawks, and he just resigned for another three years with the team. During his time there, he has added a Super Bowl ring to his list of accomplishments, playing on the 2013 winning Seahawks team.
“I always had the dream of playing football professionally, going to the Super Bowl, but it was such a lofty dream – like going to the moon or something,” Gresham admits. “But I credit the sacrifice of my parents and the influence of so many great coaches, teachers and mentors for the success I’ve enjoyed. I’m so grateful to everyone in my community who has helped me get to this place. I couldn’t have done it on my own.”
He also credits his faith as a major influence in his life. “My faith is huge to me,” he says. “I get teary-eyed thinking about the person I was before I knew Jesus. It was a pivotal moment for me when I discovered who he was and that he cared about me as a person, really loved me and wanted to get to know me as a person.”
The pivotal moment came for him right before his senior year of college, when he had a serious emotional breakdown and moved out to California to take a discipleship class at a church where a relative was working. “It changed my life,” he says. “I walked away from that experience a totally different person.”
And he admits that he needed that experience to weather the pressure that comes from playing professional football. “Those first couple of years, I couldn’t have done it without my faith, friends and family to support me,” he explains. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you have to have good people around you – people you can show your weaknesses to, and who will go to bat for you. That is hugely important.”
Now he’s focused on continuing to better himself as an athlete and teammate, as a testament of Jesus to his teammates and also in setting personal goals. He made a “Making of a Champion” film that churches and other youth-focused groups use as part of their youth outreach, and he spends his time in the off season doing public speaking and working as a leader in the Young Life Christian Youth Program.
This spring, he also experienced what he calls the proudest and happiest moment of his life: marrying the love of his life and starting their new life together.
He may be our own Corpus Christi Superstar, but through his achievements, Gresham has shown that hard work, diligence and a focus on faith and family are the true pillars of success.
For more information about Clint Gresham, check out www.clintgresham.com.
Photos courtesy of Clint Gresham