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Former NFL player promotes positive behavior at jail

Michael Cobb shares development of his relationship with God

September 28, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Former professional football player Michael Cobb promotes positive behavior in a discussion with inmates Tuesday at the Franklin County Jail in Chambersburg, Pa.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Unlike some football players going to prison these days, Michael Cobb's time Tuesday in Franklin County (Pa.) Jail was an attempt to get others out.

Cobb, a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1977, addressed Franklin County inmates about their choices and legacies. He asked those gathered how they want to be remembered.

"Somebody who shared Christ with others," one man said.

"Somebody who helped," another said.

"If you can think positive thoughts, you can live positive," Cobb said.

The remarks seemed to be well-received by inmates, some of whom nodded in response to Cobb's words and prayed with him at his speech's conclusion.

Stanley Narcisse, 36, said he was impressed by what Cobb had to say.

"I think his speech was very inspirational. ... He actually had me thinking," said Narcisse, who declined to discuss the circumstances that led to his incarceration.

Cobb's NFL career was primarily spent with the Chicago Bears. The tight end told the crowd that he sat on the bench for his first two years as a pro.

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During a visit with his cousin in Seattle, Cobb developed a relationship with God. He said he started his third year training harder and focusing more of his attention on Christ. He got more playing time.

By the fourth year, Cobb's training and faith intensified.

"I'd be running down the road singing 'Amazing Grace' and reciting the 23rd Psalm," Cobb said.

A condition in his lung ended his football career not long afterward, but Cobb, 54, said faith carried him.

Cobb, who will visit Chambersburg secondary schools today, talked to the inmates about Nelson Mandela.

He also shared anecdotes about two funeral processions he saw. In the first, no one seemed to notice the burial of an inmate's pine box. In the second, hundreds of people flocked to a cemetery for a person who didn't necessarily have a claim to fame.

"You don't have to be famous to have an impact," Cobb said.

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