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Adrian Peterson Still Impacting Georgia Southern

By BJ Bennett
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For years, Adrian Peterson's story has motivated and inspired. Now, his conviction comes with a business card.

"Maybe some guys come and need to advice, maybe some just need someone to sit there and listen to them. That would be me.
~Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson is the greatest player in Georgia Southern history. A College Football Hall of Famer, he is the all-time leading rusher at the NCAA Division I level. Few, ever, are more accomplished. For all of the production, Peterson's most-meaningful rush may ultimately prove to be his sudden return to Statesboro, recently jumping at the opportunity to join head coach Chad Lunsford and become the Eagles' Director of Student-Athlete Development.

Peterson, the player, ran over and through waves of defenders, his stiff-arm still on replay from "The Run" against Youngstown State; Peterson, the person, has given adversity an even more crushing blow. He, blending all of those experiences together, will be both the perfect ambassador for the Eagles and an incredible resource for the program's young adults.

For years, Peterson's story, one of passion and persistence, has motivated and inspired. Now, his conviction comes with a business card.

"It was a no-brainer. You can say I will be doing stuff that I was already doing," Peterson nodded. "It's an honor to come back to Georgia Southern, a place that helped me as a young man. Now I have the chance to come and help guys on a day-to-day basis."

The role will be relationship-based, with Peterson guiding players as they transition from high school to college and from college to the real world. He, as a published author with his autobiography Don't Dis My Abilities, which details his fight to overcome a speech impediment, will be an on-site open book for student-athletes in Statesboro. Helping people has long been one of Peterson's deepest passions. 

An accomplished public speaker, Peterson is ready to both share his story and, perhaps more importantly at times, be there to others'.

"Maybe some guys come and need to advice, maybe some just need someone to sit there and listen to them," Peterson continued. "That would be me."

Peterson's career has officially come full circle. At the very same place where he developed into one of the best running backs the game has ever seen, furthermore a leader who has become an example for the masses, Peterson will now aide and advise just as many helped him a generation prior. Football aside, Peterson grew as an individual at Georgia Southern, a transformation he will soon look to lead. Peterson comes with footsteps to follow, a path that goes well beyond any playing field.

When Peterson arrived on campus as a shy teenager from Alachua, Florida, he found success with a powerful dedication and drive. Peterson, painstakingly even, earned every inch of his 9,145 yards. His trepidation, like opposing defenses, proved no match; years later, the touchdowns pale in comparison to the lives touched. Through all that Peterson has accomplished and gone through, his approach remains unwavering.  

"To be honest, it's all the same. I'm there for a reason, to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself," Peterson reflected. "That's what I try to share with the kids who come to Georgia Southern."

A sense of service defines Peterson. While earning All-American honors in each of his four collegiate seasons, also playing eight years with the NFL's Chicago Bears, appearing in Super Bowl XLI, Peterson has made making an impact a multi-faceted mantra. Through his foundation, and participation in countless other non-profit ventures, Peterson's message has always been matched by a mission. Fittingly, the journey continues.

The position comes with great pride for Peterson. For him, it's not just about the who, what, when and why, but, also, the where.

"I don't think words can express it. I'm a Georgia Southern Eagle. I wear a hat every day, a shirt, a pair of sweatpants, that has Georgia Southern on it," he concluded of his appreciation for his alma mater. "It was a huge honor. They gave me the opportunity to forward my education and prepare myself as a young man. I'm excited to come back."

When players look around the football offices in Statesboro, they will see examples, on the wall and on display, honoring what Peterson has accomplished. They will now know the man behind all the memories, an impact that will be impossible to measure.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports