At a Glance
Jeff Hartings is a former American college and professional football player who was a center in the National Football League for eleven seasons. He played college football for Penn State University, and earned all-American honors. Hartings was a first round pick for the Detroit Lions in 1996. In 2005 he helped the Pittsburg Steelers win the Super Bowl. He and his wife, Rebecca, have seven children.
Jeff met his beautiful bride-to-be at a high school dance in Ohio. Rebecca went to a rival high school, but they put those ill feelings aside and, after a couple of great dances, they decided to date. Jeff quickly realized she was the “one” but called the relationship off so he could focus on football. “At the time football was my god,” Jeff said, “I’m embarrassed by it now.”
After a couple years playing at Penn State, he called back to Ohio and told Rebecca that he never forgot her and still loved her. They started dating again and, soon afterwards, he proposed. Once they were married, Jeff was drafted by the Detroit Lions and soon became friends with defensive lineman Luther Ellis. Luther invited Jeff to a Lions’ Bible study and met team chaplain Dave Wilson. In one of the lessons, Dave stressed to the players that you can’t find happiness with money and football – and true joy only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jeff adds, “One night I lay in bed and said ‘Lord, I’m gonna let you show me what pure joy and happiness really is.’” Jeff says he hasn’t turned back since.
Jeff and Rebecca, along with their 7 children, now enjoy a relationship-driven home that focuses on loving God and loving others. They are striving to raise each child individually and to teach him to make decisions to please God – not just please the parents. Each Friday night is family night where they enjoy trips to the bowling alley or Chuck E Cheese – or simply hanging out together. Jeff also strives to get as much one-on-one time with Rebecca over dinner. They also enjoy building relationships with other couples.
Jeff is also a father to the fatherless; working with 30 – 40 kids every week directing the “Play Ball for Kids” program for a group called Urban Impact – to learn more visit http://www.urbanimpactpittsburgh.org/playballforkids/
Jeff’s advice to fathers -- make room in your life for your kids while they are in your house. You can only do that by eliminating all your selfish desires and focusing on your family. The end result will be great relationships with them. While Jeff set aside a high school rivalry to fall in love with Rebecca, it was setting aside his selfish needs that have made him an All Pro Dad.
1996-2000 Detroit Lions
2001-2006 Pittsburg Steelers
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