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Alabama in the Pros

Former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick honors Christ in accepting Bart Starr Award

Minkah Fitzpatrick returning an interception vs. Colts in 2019 season
Philip G. Pavely - USA Today Sports

The University of Alabama football program has a selection of players that are appreciated no matter what era of football the institution was in.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, a New Jersey native, is widely regarded as one of the best to ever put on a crimson and white jersey for the Crimson Tide. He was an impactful defensive back from the moment he arrived as a five-star in the 2015 class.

RELATED: Minkah Fitzpatrick enters NFL’s Top 100 players of 2023 at No. 18

Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (#29) hold "Ball Out" turnover belt after recording a pick-six in 2016 SEC Championship Game versus Florida.

Dec 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) is congratulated with a belt on the sideline after scoring a touchdown on an interception during the first quarter of the SEC Championship college football game against the Florida Gators at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Fitzpatrick did everything as a nickel cornerback, including two College Football Playoff National Championships in 2015 and 2017. He was a Consensus All-American in 2016, a Unanimous All-American in 2017, a two-time first-team All-SEC selection (2016, 2017), a Chuck Bednarik Award winner (2017), and a Jim Thorpe Award winner (2017). He was selected at No. 11 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, but he’s been one of the biggest leaders for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2019.

Fitzpatrick is a four-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time first-team All-Pro honoree, and he was the league’s co-leader for interceptions (six) in 2022. He is a devout Christian who loves sharing his faith, helping his community back in New Jersey, and being a positive influence in the Steelers’ locker room. Fitzpatrick won the Bart Starr Award, which goes to the player that exemplifies outstanding character and leadership at home, on the field, and in the community. He is the first Alabama football alumnus to win the honor. Fitzpatrick accepted the award at a Super Bowl dinner and honored his faith in Jesus in doing so.

“I would say a good man is a dead man,” Fitzpatrick said to open his speech.

“A good man is a man who is willing to pick up his cross and follow Jesus. A good man is a man who is willing to get up on that cross daily, sometimes multiples times a day, pin his flesh to it, and continue to follow Christ. So as I receive this award for my good, my good character, my good relationship with the Lord, I want everyone to know I am nothing but the product of sitting at the feet of Jesus. I am nothing but a product of a man who sits at the feet of Jesus, at the foot of the cross and lets Him mold his heart, mold his mind. I am not a perfect man by any means, shapes, or forms, but I am thankful fo this award. I am thankful for my peers for voting me for this award, but if you want to be a great man, a great brother, a great husband, just sit at the feet of the cross. Sit in silence with God. Let him mold you, let him work on your heart, and you will be everything you want to be.”

Fitzpatrick’s leadership allowed him to be special for the Crimson Tide.

His obedience to Jesus has propelled him and will continue to propel him to have a great professional career.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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