I was raised in a small area where it is not uncommon for people to have never heard of the place; Palestine, Texas. The athletes from this town are country and cornbread fed. Come to find out some of those guys make great football players if they were lucky enough to get noticed.
I can start at the top of the list from the most recent. Usually when I introduce where I’m from no one has a clue of where I am speaking of until I say “Where Adrian Peterson is from” and they respond with “OHHHH, Ok now I know,” it’s kind of amusing that’s how the conversation goes every time.
In such a small town the athletic abilities of this man came far and few between so everyone knew he would be famous one day. With everyone treating him like a celebrity before he even graduated high school, he was always a humble, polite and never in any trouble. I can remember kids (including myself) lining up at Mazzio’s pizza after Palestine High football games to get his autograph. If I searched extremely hard, I’m sure I could find mine on a Mazzio’s napkin.
He became record-setting running back for the University of Oklahoma, where he was a Heisman Trophy runner-up. He finished at OU as the Sooners third all-time leading rusher.
In 2007 Peterson entered the NFL draft and on July 29, 2007 he was drafted seventh overall to the Minnesota Vikings where he remains today. During his rookie season he set an NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game (296) and earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the n-f-l, and for nine seasons, he's played for the Minnesota Vikings, and…www.easttexasmatters.com
As he set many more records he also is still very involved with the community of Palestine, Texas. Adrian donated money to Palestine High School to build a brand new school to match the amazing stadium that helped bring him where he is today. The city holds an annual Adrian Peterson Day on June 18 to show appreciation.
Next on the list of East Texas greats is Earl Campbell.
Born in Tyler, Texas which is right up the street from Palestine, Texas; football running back Earl Christian Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School and then became a star on the football team of the University of Texas at Austin.
For his record breaking performances at the college level, Earl won the Heisman Trophy in 1977.
That same year he became the first recipient of the Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in the Southwest Conference.
Earl was then the first pick in the 1978 National Football League draft, chosen by the Houston Oilers. He later played for the New Orleans Saints and amassed a series of football and NFL records.
He is widely acknowledged as one of the best power backs in NFL history, and few running backs were as productive or imposing. He retired during the 1986 NFL pre-season.
Earl was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, and is also a member of the College Hall of Fame.
Since retiring from football, Earl is a businessman in Austin, Texas and still participates in University of Texas Athletics. Earl Campbell currently serves as President of Earl Campbell Meat Products, Inc. which proudly manufactures and sells Earl Campbell’s ® Smoked Sausage and other wonderful food products and barbeque sauce.
Matt attended Robert E. Lee High school, and was later the star quarterback of the LSU Fighting Tigers when they won the BCS National Football Championship.
Matt now is on the roster of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.
George Edward Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 in Marshall, Texas. He is a retired American professional boxer, two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.
He won the World Heavyweight title with a knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. He made two successful title defenses before losing to Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974.
He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76–5, including 68 knockouts. Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The famous George Foreman Grill has resulted in sales of over 100 million units since it was first launched.
As an East Texas native, I can proudly say that we have our eyes on Greg Ward, Jr to be next on the list of ETX Greats.