Former NFL player and Georgia Southern Football legend Adrian Peterson recently toured all Ware County Schools driving home his message, “Hard work pays off!" Peterson graduated from Georgia Southern University where he won two National Championships. While playing with the Eagles, he was the youngest player to win the prestigious Walter Payton Award as a sophomore. In his 57 career games at GSU, including the playoffs, he carried 1,378 times for 9,145 yards (6.6 avg), 111 touchdowns and an average of 160 yards per game. He also played 8 years for the Chicago Bears and played in Super Bowl XLI. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Despite all of these accomplishments, Peterson’s story is not one about the glory days of football but rather his fight to excel in life despite dealing with a difficult speech disability. This challenge only motivated him to fight harder to reach his goals in life. In talking with students, Peterson connected with them on many levels, but he made sure to point out that no matter what they may be thinking, their parents and teachers are their main supporters.
As Peterson took the mic at each school, the room resounded with Peterson chanting “Hard work” and the students echoing “Pays off”! Peterson described to students what it was like growing up different and how he was determined not to let his speech impediment get in his way. Peterson continues to be an inspiration to many.
Photo: Peterson is pictured with Waycross Middle School student Trayvon K., who introduced Mr. Peterson prior to the the school's assembly.