NFL left tackle Garett Bolles talks about the importance of taking second chances

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Provided by Emily Belle Freeman

Garett Bolles is a product of second chances. NFL fans know that Bolles had one of the best turnaround seasons in the league in 2020, but what they may not know is that Bolles also experienced a remarkable turnaround in his personal life as a high school student. His story has been widely referred to as “Utah’s Blind Side” because of its striking similarities to the 2009 film based on the true story of NFL player Michael Oher. There is no doubt that when Emily Belle Freeman and her husband, Greg, took Garett in, it changed his life forever—but on this week’s episode of All In, Garett explains that God gives us all many chances, though it’s up to us to use our agency to accept them.

Listen to the podcast in full in the player below or by clicking here. You can also read a full transcript by clicking here.

Morgan Jones: Garett, you were given a second chance. And I know Emily in talking about you has said before that she believes in a God of second chances. And so when you think about the way that God gave you a second chance, and gave you this ability to have a very different life than you maybe would have had otherwise, what do you feel in your heart, what kind of gratitude do you feel? And how do you feel like you now are able to take that and channel that into moving forward and continuing to make the best of that second chance?

Garett Bolles: Like I said, I'm a big believer in that too, second chances. But I think what my mom means by that is I think the Lord will always give you a second chance when you're ready. … But the Lord can always give us multiple chances, but it’s always going to be that big second chance that we have the agency to choose to take it or leave it.

And I think that’s one of the greatest gifts that God ever gave us is agency. To choose to either be good or choose to continue to fall down, go down the path that you’re going down. And so when you go down a path, or either if it’s rocky, or if it starts out good, and then ends up rocky, there’s always that chance where you can do a 180 and go back to where the light is.

And sometimes you may not see it at the beginning, and sometimes you may deny it, and then all of a sudden, some big event happens in your life. And you’re like, “Okay, this is the Lord speaking to me.” And that’s what I feel like—it’s that second chance. And so I'm very grateful for that second chance. The Lord is one of my best friends. I feel Him. He’s with me dearly, especially being in the NFL where being a member of the Church or just being a Christian in general is not accepted because of the adversary of the world. And what the NFL or professional athlete world, what it brings to you—you name it, it brings it to you—and you have to choose, do I want to live this or not?

And I always reflect back on the decision that I made a long, long time ago, is I’m going to choose the right. And I’m not saying I’m perfect. I do make mistakes, but I always strive to be good. And I always know the Lord is always going to give me a reminder, even if I do make a mistake, He’s always going to tell me, “Hey, that's probably not the smartest decision,” or “Hey, I wouldn't say that.”

And I know that’s the Lord always teaching me to become a better man. And I always reflect on the Atonement, because that’s another one of the greatest things He gave us, too, is the Atonement of Jesus Christ to strengthen us to do things we can never do on our own. And I truly believe that. That’s a power that we get to have in our lives when we dedicate our lives to the Lord, is He died for us, and feeling everything that we’ve suffered in this world.

And you know … we may suffer, but we’re never going to feel what He felt that day in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And if we do everything we can possible to live with Him again is when He’s going to give us those reminders … for us to [have the chance to] live with Him again. So I’m very grateful that I get to have that chance and continue to just live my life on that second chance.

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