Kirk Cousins uses struggles to become better vocal leader

Kirk Cousins speaks to a group of children at one of his football camps.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup against the New York Giants marked Kirk Cousins’ 43rd start at quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

The Holland native has started the second-most games in the franchise’s history.

Despite being one of the most statistically successful quarterbacks in the NFL since becoming the starter, statistics and athletic achievements are well down the list of things he values most.

To many, Cousins’ name is directly associated with football. But for those who know him personally, a nice touchdown pass is only a small part of who he is.

“I have had quite a journey in life and in faith,” said Jon Genzink. “Kirk has kind of been something to keep my balance.”

Jon and Justin Genzink are close friends of Cousins.

“I think a lot of guys look at a guy like Kirk and think he’s probably had it together his whole life, smooth sailing,” Justin Genzink said. “He’s in the NFL now, I mean what problems could a guy like this have ever had? Plenty, just like many of us do.”

He said the challenges Cousins have faced that have allowed him to make a big difference using his voice instead of his arm.

Jon and Justin Genzink said those who attend his annual football camps in Holland take very little information on the X’s and O’s.

“I think I can definitely see the impact he’s made in all the Bible verses he has the kids learn and the early mornings before camp starts when he comes and talks to the coaches about what’s going on,” Jon Genzink said.

Cousins has had to work through his fair share of obstacles in his football career.

During his junior year of high school, Cousins broke his ankle. At both Michigan State and for the Redskins, he had to overcome a position battle to earn his starting spot.

Each of those instances are examples he uses when leading with his voice and faith instead of his athletic ability.

“I think he just sets great standards for everyone on and off the field,” Jon Genzink said.

Justin Genzink said he is grateful to Cousins for using his platform as a professional athlete in the manner he does and for being candid about his faith.