Oklahoma football: Adrian Peterson’s $1 million gift revealing
Adrian Peterson showed up at OU in 2004 as close to the finished product as any football player I’ve ever seen. I’m hard-pressed to imagine any Sooner — heck, any non-Sooner, too — more NFL-ready straight out of high school. All kinds of basketball players have made that jump. Few football players could.
Peterson was the exception. A man-child. A physical specimen far above his contemporaries. A stunning tailback who could outrun the rugged and overrun the fast. A freshman all-American on OU’s great 2004 team. Then soon enough, of course, an NFL superstar.
But check out what Peterson said when it was announced Thursday that he had donated $1 million to the OU athletic department. ”This was something that I had been thinking about doing for a long time,” said Peterson, No. 3 on OU’s all-time rushing list, trailing only Billy Sims and Joe Washington. “I always hoped to be in a position to be able to donate back to the University of Oklahoma and make it an even better place; do whatever I could to help the university that did so much for me.”
No offense to Bob Stoops’ program, but Peterson did much more for OU than OU did for Peterson. Peterson would have been a star no matter where he had landed out of Palestine, Texas. Would have been a Heisman Trophy-contending tailback (he placed second in the 2004 Heisman voting) at any school. Would have been a high NFL draft pick no matter his university. Peterson was primed and ready to go before he ever wore a Sooner jersey.
Yet here he is, thanking his school for doing so much for him. Naturally, Peterson is talking about all kinds of things. Relationships, memories, those kinds of things. But still. The OU laboratory, which turned Sam Bradford and G.K. McCoy and Trent Williams and Roy Williams into elite NFL prospects, did not do the same for Peterson. Yet here comes $1 million in gratitude.
That says something about Peterson’s character.
“It was something that I always wanted to do and there just came a time when I got established and comfortable enough to make it happen,” Peterson said in the press release. “It was a no-brainer to do it and I am thankful that I’m in a position to give back to OU and to show my appreciation.”
Peterson’s generosity will be used to help fund the construction of Headington Hall, OU’s new student housing facility and established a football scholarship endowment. OU will rename the Red Room, where team meetings and Stoops press conferences are held, the Adrian Peterson Team Meeting Room.
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