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Clay Shiver: No Thanks, Playmates

Florida State University's sports information department had big news for Clay Shiver early this year [1995]: Playboy magazine had selected him for its preseason All-America football team. But quicker than he snaps the ball, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound center said, "No thanks."

"I couldn't see any good coming from being in the magazine," says Shiver, who has his eyes on the pros after graduation. "My mind was made up before it was offered to me."

The FSU business major adds: "It's almost funny how God works these things out even before we're faced with them." That's how it happened for Shiver.

Two weeks before he received the news, Shiver prayed about his response because the Seminoles' chaplain, Clint Purvis, was convinced he would be named to Playboy's team. Purvis asked Shiver what he would do.

"I trust Clint a lot," says Shiver, who leads opening prayer and Scripture readings at First Baptist of Tallahassee's college worship services. "He knew I was going to be selected. It was like the Lord spoke to him."

Although the talented player realized this "honor" is one of the highest preseason awards a college football player can receive from sportswriters, it also meant an endorsement of Playboy. Clay didn't want to embarrass his mother and grandmother by appearing in the magazine or give old high school friends an excuse to buy that issue.

"Clay really gave up being named 'the best player in the country' at his position. It was a witness to people in the football program who wouldn't have known about Clay's faith," says Purvis, minister to students at First Baptist. "One Christian teammate said, 'I don't know if I could have turned it down.' "

But Shiver, an on-field leader with spiritual insight, cites (Luke 12:48), "To whom much is given, much is required."

"I don't want to let anyone down, and number one on that list is God."

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