Jason Elam takes a ‘kick’ at writing

December 26, 2007 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Jason Elam’s, Denver place kicker, first foray into the world of literary fiction has drawn positive reviews. Elam and Denver pastor Steve Yohn’s first novel, “Monday Night Jihad,” hit bookstores last week. The suspense thriller combines football, religion and a spy adventure in which the hero tries to thwart a terrorist plot.

So far, the reviews have been glowing:

— “A chilling ride through a nightmare scenario,” said Joel C. Rosenberg, author of the best-selling “The Last Jihad.”

— “Rich details about life as an NFL player invigorate the story,” Publishers Weekly wrote.

— “I found ‘Monday Night Jihad’ to be not only interesting, but very thought-provoking,” Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said.

The book was put out by Tyndale House Publishers, which has issued religious or inspirational titles like “Quiet Strength” by Dungy (a reflective memoir) and “Don’t Bet against Me!” by Deanna Favre (her tale of battling breast cancer).

The main character in Elam’s novel is Riley Covington, a bruising linebacker and Air Force lieutenant loosely based on former Broncos reserve Steve Russ, now an assistant coach at Syracuse University.

Offensive tackle Matt Lepsis has a copy and plans to crack it open on the plane ride to San Diego.

“I’ve already talked to him about it, so I know what it’s all about,” Lepsis said. “Jason is very passionate about his beliefs and I think that has led him to this point in his life that he wanted to put it on paper.”

Elam figures he’ll draw some criticism for the terrorist element in his book. Yet all he wanted was for the novel to be thought-provoking.

He’s well-versed on religion. He’s currently studying the world’s 12 major religions through a distance-learning program at Liberty University’s seminary in Lynchburg, Va., where he’s pursuing a master’s degree.

“I just got to thinking — why do people believe what they believe?” Elam said. “That’s why I wanted to write this book. Riley Covington is confronted by some tough problems in this book. He questions what’s going on and why, as most of us do.”

He thought about making Covington a kicker, just like him, but decided against it.

“I couldn’t make the hero a kicker. It had to be plausible,” Elam said.

As for what is more daunting, a last-second kick in front of a raucous crowd or reading a book review, Elam said that was simple — the kick.

“At least you know you’re not going to have chicken wings and snowballs thrown at you if they don’t like your book,” he said with a grin.

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