Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Whenever Andre Tippett's name is mentioned amongst Patriot fans, they immediately think of the aggressive and relentless linebacker that struck fear in his opponents. Fast forward to the present and Tippett's persona is almost the exact opposite. Today, Tippett still commands everyone's respect with his physical presence but has a rather cool,calm, and collected personality. What most people don't know is that much of his qualities can be attributed to his passion for martial arts and his faith in Judaism.

With the start of Hanukkah occurring on Monday, the former Patriots linebacker reflected on what this holiday means to him and his family with Boston Globe writer, Steven A. Rosenberg:

Hannukkah means dedication and is about miracles. I'm probably more excited than most of the family because I look forward to any type of celebration when it comes to holidays!

The feared Patriots pass rusher did not always practice Judaism. Like many others born in Birmingham, Alabama, Tippett grew up in a Baptist household. At a young age Tippett was taught to believe in a higher being.

After a few seasons of playing for our beloved team from Foxboro, Tippett met a nice Jewish girl from Framingham named Rhonda Kenney. Like most blossoming relationships, there were sparks. In 1993, what started as puppy love transformed into a union before a rabbi and their loved ones. Three years after their wedding, Tippett began to take steps towards converting to Judaism.

According to Rosenberg's article, the decision to switch religions was quite simple:

I knew that it was important that I engulf myself in learning,” said Tippett, who calls himself a proud Jew. “I did this for my family. It was probably one of the easiest things I had to do in my life. It was fun. It was an opportunity to learn about a new culture and history, and to study.

To this day, Tippett continues to embrace and practice Judaism with his wife (Rhonda), son (Coby), and daughter (Madison). As an old friend of Andre's, I would like to wish him and his family a very happy Hanukkah! If you are reading this Andre, I still have those pictures of me taking you out in Karate! Osu (bows to his sensei).

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Michael J. Weathers 12/17/2014 07:00:00 PM Edit

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