NFL free agent Jason Avant was once a drug-dealing gang member, but he says his grandmother’s love — and her Christian faith — guided him to leave that lifestyle behind and discover his true calling.

Avant, a wide receiver who played eight seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles, said in a recent interview with CBN News that his grandmother had a monumental impact on his life, positively affecting him even when he was breaking the law and living dangerously.

Image source: CBN News

NFL free agent Jason Avant credits his grandmother with bringing him to faith (Image source: CBN News)

“I was the worst gang member/drug dealer ever, because my grandmother gave me too much truth for me to be comfortable in that environment,” he told the outlet. “And I couldn’t ignore it.”

Avant, who said that he was already dealing drugs in the sixth grade, would sometimes come home with $1,000 on hand as a result of his illegal activities.

Despite the negative decisions he made, the NFL player said his grandmother always held out hope that he would one day change.

“I was young and I was her second chance on life,” Avant said. “Her children didn’t turn out the way she wanted them to, so her prayers for me were, ‘Lord, let him be different.’”

He described struggling as a young person to understand why some people were blessed with money, while others lived in poverty. In many ways, his upbringing and view on inequality led him to be “bitter and callous toward God.”

But then Avant discovered his football talents and headed to the University of Michigan. While he hadn’t yet become a Christian, it was there that he roomed with a pastor’s son — yet another person of faith who emerged in his life.

Eventually, he said he began to realize that God had protected him during his turbulent upbringing.

“[God] began to show me … all the times my house was shot up and nobody was killed from it,” he said. “The last thing he showed me was how he gave me this talent that I didn’t know I had.”

Avant eventually embraced his grandmother’s faith and his life profoundly changed; he landed in the NFL, where his athleticism went on full display.

“[God] was so good to me, so merciful to me, so kind to me that May 4, 2003, I finally said ‘yes’ and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ,” he told CBN News.

Watch him describe his story below:

After becoming a Christian, Avant visited his grandmother and thanked her for everything she taught him. A year later, she passed away, though he said it seemed as though she “stayed around long enough” for him to “find Jesus.”

(H/T: Christian Post)

Featured image via CBN News