Eddie George Honored as 2020 Co-Recipient of the Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award
By Bob Hyde, Middle Tennessee Chapter Board Member
Coming out of his senior year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, Eddie George did not receive a single Division I offer to play football. The Division II Edinboro Fighting Scots was the only school to offer George a scholarship, make that it a partial scholarship at that.
George’s mom asked Eddie what he thought about being a big fish in a small pond? His response is classic Edward Nathan George!
“Edinboro was a great institution. I’m not going to knock it but it wasn’t the right fit for me.
“I’m a great white (shark), Mom, I belong in an ocean,” George told his mother. “I don’t know which ocean it’s going to be but I’m going to find it!”
George took advantage of the opportunity to stay for a post-graduate year at Fork Union and the rest is history.
“After my senior year at Fork Union, I went back home to Philly that summer and got up in the morning and worked out, then ran in the afternoon,” George said. “And then I ran again at 10:00 p.m. each night. I went across the street to this park in Southwest Philadelphia by myself, doing everything I could to realize my dream.”
That level of dedication certainly paid off for George, who was offered a scholarship at The Ohio State after the extra year at Fork Union. He won the Heisman Trophy following his 1995 senior season with the Buckeyes. Among his many college awards was his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 1996 he was selected by the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) with the 14th pick in first round of the NFL draft.
His NFL career numbers are remarkable! In seven of his eight seasons with the Oilers / Titans, he amassed more than 1,000 yards rushing, topped by 1,509 yards in 2000, when he paced the Titans to a 13-3 record. George was selected to the NFL’s Pro Bowl each of his first four years in the league and miraculously NEVER missed a start due to injury during his eight-year Titans career!
George received the ultimate reward from the Titans when the franchise retired his famous No. 27 jersey number and added him to the team’s Ring of Honor on September 15, 2019.
“Sitting here all these years later talking about having my jersey retired lets me know that with the right support system, the right faith, I believe in God, I believe in prayer, I believe in visualizing yourself being in certain situations and places, that anything is possible!”
And for George, the accomplishments after his gridiron career continue in a variety of avenues. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen named George spokesperson for the GetFitTN program in 2006, a program aimed at prevention of diabetes and promoting living a healthy lifestyle.
George graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, earning an MBA in the Executive MBA program.
A visit to his personal website www.eddiegeorge.com will reveal the extent of his life after football! This Renaissance Man’s career spawns acting in Broadway shows, both network and local TV / radio roles as well as being a philanthropist and entrepreneur.
Rest assured, George has worked incredibly hard to accomplish all of this but if you know Eddie, you know he’s far from done! And he also knows that football launched him on his life after football and he continues to give back to the world of football today!
Without a doubt, George is clearly deserving of the 2020 Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award! This award is named for former Vanderbilt Athletic Director and SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer and given to a local individual who has been instrumental in promoting the game of football with the highest level of leadership, integrity and participation.