For much of Adrian Peterson’s life, the standout athlete has overcome adversities and made the most of opportunities.
The many highlights of Peterson’s life and football career, especially overcoming a speech impediment, are the focus of his book, Don’t Dis My Abilities, written in 2013.
Peterson was on hand Thursday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium to promote his book and throw out the first pitch at the Augusta GreenJackets game.
“I grew up in a small town in Florida,” Peterson said. “I grew up with a speech impediment. I still stutter, but it didn’t hold me back. I got a scholarship offer to Georgia Southern. I hit the ground running and I never looked back. I wanted to make the most of it.”
Peterson did by becoming a legend at Georgia Southern and one of the most successful running backs in college football history. He totaled 6,559 rushing yards, not including the playoffs, for a Division I record.
A star for the Eagles from 1998-2001, he won the Walter Payton Award in 1999 as the most outstanding player in Division I-AA, the first sophomore to ever win the award. He was inducted into the Georgia Southern Hall of Fame in 2012.
Peterson was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round in 2002 and played eight seasons in the NFL.
He now impacts the next generation of athletes with All-Pro Sports Performance, a Chicago-based facility that trains young players and provides a positive message. The players’ ages range from 8 years old to current Bears.
Peterson also performs speaking engagements to spread his message of tackling challenges as he did throughout his career. He has traveled to the Augusta area on multiple occasions to speak to schools and hold camps.
Support for Peterson and his book has been positive. He no longer suits up in blue and white, but he continues to make an impact on the state of Georgia.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “A lot of them follow me on Instagram or Twitter, so you build a connection more than just me coming in and giving my spiel. Everything I put on my social media is fun and positive, so they can hop on Instagram for something positive.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.