Clint Evans was determined to finish the last year of his semi-pro football career with the Southeastern Minn-esota Warhawks, a team that plays in the  9-man Southern Plains Football league, on his terms.
Evans has been pastor at Faith United Methodist Church in Sleepy Eye and Fairfax United Methodist Church since 2015. On top of that, he is a husband and is the father of three little girls. His football career is just the cherry on top of an already busy schedule.
Friends of Evans at the time he first heard of semi-pro football, played on a local team, and they were the ones who first coaxed him into trying out for a team while he lived on the west coast. “It had been 10 to 12 years since I had last played in high school, so I was scared. But after a while I decided to try out,” said Evans. “My first season was a very successful year. The team I was on won the championship. That was a good year and a lot of fun.”
After that, Evans bounced around with other amateur teams from all over Minnesota—St. Cloud, Mankato, and even into the Twin Cities last year. “We got second place in our league (last year) and we got to travel a lot and even got to play at U.S. Bank Stadium,” said Evans. “Last year I was feeling really good, and I had played a really good season.” With the goal to play until he was 40 in sight, Evans was informed, after a drunk driving accident in September of 2017 which landed him in the hospital, that he had stage four Sarcoma cancer.
“October 1 you wake up in the hospital and you’re told all of the terrible things you’ve done, and then they go, ‘oh well, we have other news to tell you, you have stage four cancer, and now you got to go to jail,’ so that was definitely the worst day of my life,” said Evans. The next couple of months he stewed in fear and anxiety, with a string of frustrating diagnosis as he bounced around from hospital to hospital. A concrete diagnosis was not given until just before Christmas.
Evans began treatment in Decem-ber. Chemo involved two drugs, one nicknamed the Red Devil. “After I started taking that I lost all my hair, I’d puke my guts up, and then I’d be laid up four days later,” said Evans. Of course, a staggering amount of weight and muscle loss resulted from the medication Evans took.
As the football season rolled around, Evans knew it could be just what he needed in order to take a step towards getting healthy again.
Evans had a sit-down with himself before the season began, “I was like ‘OK man, you’ve gotten small enough as it is, you gotta do this.’ So it was definitely a motivating factor that helped me through a dark time,” said Evans.
With his family and oncologists behind him, Evans began his last year of Semi-Pro football with the Southeastern Minn-esota Warhawks, as an offensive lineman.
“I had to rely on my veteran experience a lot. The guy across from me was usually bigger and stronger. And usually younger,” Evans said with a chuckle. “I had lost a lot of weight from the treatment, and the medication gave me a lot of muscle aches, so June and July were rough,” said Evans.
“My teammates were very supportive, I told them right away since they probably would have found out eventually, and my coaches were supportive too.” Other teams, of course, got wind of Evans condition, but when it came time to play they didn’t insult him by treating him like fine china. “I earned everything I got. They definitely didn’t hold back,” said Evans, talking about his opponents.
When the final game of the season came to fruition, the All-Star game, Evans had lost even more weight. “I had some good plays, and I had some bad ones, but I enjoyed my time. It was definitely bittersweet. A part of me wanted to keep playing and make it back to U.S. Bank Stadium one more time, but it was kind of like God was giving me this year, but he left signs all year long telling me that this was it.”
Life after football for Evans will include more time with his family and continuing to get healthier. Also, his post-football life will feature a lot more community involve-ment “I love Sleepy Eye, and people here were very supportive of me after the accident.”
People should also patiently await the book he and his wife are working on this year about his life. It is sure to be a good one.