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Gbaja-Biamila Plays Through Pain


With less than 30 seconds remaining in Sunday's game, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila broke free of the Vikings' offensive line and had what was perhaps his best look all night at Daunte Culpepper.

The third-year defensive end charged like a bull, only to have the quarterback sidestep him like a matador.

Gbaja-Biamila lunged again, but found Culpepper had vacated the premises.

But the man they call 'KGB' didn't give up.

With Culpepper rolling out of the pocket and looking downfield, Gbaja-Biamila resumed his pursuit and ran down the fleet-footed gunslinger from behind. In doing so he picked up his only sack of the night and forced a fumble that the Packers nearly recovered to seal their come-from-behind win.

On Gbaja-Biamila's part, it was a tremendous display of heart and determination. Of course, he'd shown that just by being on the field.

Gbaja-Biamila's sack came a week to the day after he watched the birth of his first child, Abdul-Rashid, in the early morning in Green Bay, only to get a call later that night that his mother, Bola Tito Anjorin Gbaja-Biamila, 53, had died in a car accident in California.

"I just hustled until the play was done," he said afterward. "I thought I had him twice before I finally made the play. It was all-out hustle."

It was also a touching end to a game that started with Gbaja-Biamila questioning his emotional strength to compete.

"I just asked God, 'Give me the strength to go out here and try to put whatever is disturbing in my personal life (aside) and try to help my team,'" he said. "God answered my prayers and gave me the strength that I needed to go out there and play."

It wasn't the only time Gbaja-Biamila made an impact.

He finished the game with six tackles, five of them unassisted, including his sack.

In another tremendous show of hustle, he chased down Moe Williams to make a touchdown-saving tackle at the end of the running back's 44-yard scamper in the third quarter.

"The contribution he made to our football team (Sunday) was significant," Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Monday.

"It certainly had to be difficult. Sometimes we say, 'Yeah, it's his job,' but it's tough. There's not a lot of jobs out there where you have to go out and do what he did after something like that."

Showing up to work was even more significant considering that starters Gilbert Brown and Tyrone Williams were on the inactives list with injuries. Which is not to mention Joe Johnson on injured reserve or the multitude of players like Vonnie Holliday and Aaron Kampman who are playing with battered bodies.

Gbaja-Biamila admitted that he didn't feel like being on the field Sunday, but felt he owed it to his teammates.

"They've been greatly comforting these past few days," he said. "It was a good way for me to get back on track. God helped me through these tough times, and so did tonight."

A devout Christian, Gbaja-Biamila regularly speaks of God, both in interviews and casual conversation.

His mother was also a devout Christian, but even in the face of her death, Gbaja-Biamila said his beliefs haven't been shaken.

"God, he has all the answers," he said. "I don't know why he does what he do, but I trust him. Sometimes I don't like what he does, but I know he knows what's best when it's all said and done ...

"Faith is about believing in the unseen, believing in what you don't see instead of what you do see."

Sunday, in front 64,070 at Lambeau Field and a nationwide television audience, Gbaja-Biamila's heart and courage couldn't have been more apparent.

Afterward, Gbaja-Biamila was asked about the significance of the victory.

"To be able to get this win today is no different than any other win, it's truly a blessing," he said. "Nothing is promised."

It's something Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila knows all too well.

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