Aug. 9, 1999
By BRENT KALLESTAD
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - With tears rolling down his cheeks, Florida State fifth-year senior Dan Kendra said Sunday that he discovered the power of faith watching a religious television show last month and that it is helping him recover from a career-threatening knee injury.
"I feel like all my worries have been lifted," said Kendra, one of the most celebrated athletes to be recruited by the university. "I put all my effort, everything, into my body, my lifting, my strength, my eating. And I knew that wasn't the way."
Kendra, 23, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee April 4, 1998 during the school's annual Garnet & Gold scrimmage when he was tackled by linebacker Bradley Jennings.
"I was putting so much emphasis into my body and that when this happened I really had nowhere to turn," he said. "My body deceived me. It was like my God deceived me and I was just lost."
As the backup quarterback to Thad Busby in 1996 and 1997, Kendra passed for 1,006 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was one of the nation's most heralded prep players coming out of school from Bethlehem, Pa., in 1995.
After beginning the rehabilitation process a year ago, Kendra asked Florida State coaches to move him to fullback. But his right knee continued to threaten his playing time at any position as he trained for the upcoming season.
"It was almost like God would say, OK he's had enough, let's get him out of this," Kendra said.
"I feel like as my spirit has gotten better, my knee has gotten better," Kendra said. "I feel like I'll be ready to go."
Circled by two dozen reporters during Florida State's annual media day activities, the 260-pound Kendra was answering questions about his health, the position change and rehabilitation when his voice broke and he shared his recent experience.
Watching a show July 23 called "Signs from God," Kendra saw himself as being obsessed with things that he said shouldn't make any difference to him.
"Football was my God," Kendra said. "Achieving success, achieving money was my God. All those things that can go away."
Kendra said he prayed to have his injured knee healed. "He gave me something so much better, he healed my heart and my mind," Kendra said. "Now I found the truth about life was all about," Kendra said. "God calls you to be faithful, he doesn't call you to be successful.
"I'm so thankful he got me at 23 years old," Kendra said. "It's almost like somebody came up to you and said, how would you like to have all your worries, all your fears, lifted from you for the rest of your life?"