Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo spoke publicly about his back injury for the first time Sunday, but it wasn't in a TV interview.
Romo spoke to a high school Bible study class at The Village Church in Flower Mound, where he is a member of the congregation.
"That was really the message that he was presenting to our students," said high school minister Chris Groover. "Football is a part of his life, but it's not who he is. The Lord defines who he is."
Groover said the date was firmed up about a week before Romo injured his back in a preseason game in Seattle.
"I think that just goes back to his character," Groover said. "He's for sure a standup guy and followed through on that."
About 300 students attended Sunday night's Bible study – about twice as many who usually attend, leaders said.
"I wanted to shake his hand," said John Bradford, an admitted football fan. "Standing in his midst was just, like, almost heavenly."
Romo used his recent injury as a Bible study teaching tool.
"It definitely resonated," said senior Kendall Landorf, was wearing a sling for a dislocated shoulder. "Because in a time of injury, you begin to just question your faith and just question the Lord's goodness. And that's that's kind of the transition period he's in right now."
Students left with photos of Romo, and much more.
"Yes, I did meet Tony Romo, but we didn't have the normal conversation that somebody would hope to have about the successes and getting an autograph," said Landorf, who plans to use the photo as a way to spread Romo's message.
"Never delete it. Keep it forever," Bradford said about his photo with the star quarterback and the message he took away from it. "If you have your identity in football, who are you after it's taken away?" Bradford asked. "Are you just some regular kid, or are you someone special?"