Rams Player Locked Out But Not Locked Down

NFL player from North Texas launches Christian-themed T-shirt business

By Randy McIlwain
|  Tuesday, May 3, 2011  |  Updated 11:45 PM CDT
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A North Texas NFL star is using the league's lockout time to launch a faith-based business.

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

A North Texas NFL star is using the league's lockout time to launch a faith-based business.

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As the NFL continues into the seventh week of its lockout, players are looking for all sorts of ways to make use of their time -- including a North Texas player who is trying a new career.

Some are working out in anticipation of the season, other's like Mark Clayton are looking seriously at other careers.

Mark Clayton, a Sam Houston High School alumnus and former Sooner who plays for the St. Louis Rams, is combing his passion for football, faith and fashion.

He is selling Christian-themed T-shirts online at MyChristianT.com. Clayton said his designer T-shirts are a subtle way of spreading the Gospel without saying a word.

"In the lifetime of a shirt, a person may read that shirt 3,000 times," he said.

One shirt reads, "Jesus is my boyfriend."

"It's about purity, about being single, living a life that's about remaining pure until marriage," Clayton said.

He spent the first five-plus years of his career as a Baltimore Raven and was traded last season to the St. Louis Rams. As he enters his seventh season in the NFL, Clayton said he knows that his NFL career is already double the average career of most professional football players.

Clayton said the lockout has reinforced the need to prioritize life after football.

"It is a business, and people get shuffled here, there and everywhere and then spit out," Clayton said. "If you've put all your eggs in that basket, and you've been rejected, where do you go?"

One of Clayton's themed shirts has the word "hope" across the chest. He said he hopes his T-shirt business takes off and will eventually fund his philanthropy, which is working in youth faith-based programs nationwide and in Africa.

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