Adrian Peterson is so great, he gets taken for granted.
Like Kobe Bryant putting up 40 points, LeBron James accumulating a triple-double or Peyton throwing for 300+ yards, a long TD run by AP where he sheds multiple defenders with apparent ease is something we’ve just become used to seeing.
But that shouldn’t make it any less amazing every time we see it.
Here are some highlights to jog your memory. My favorite AP run, maybe the most impressive run I’ve ever seen. It encapsulates every aspect of a great RB; speed, power, agility, change of direction, EVERYTHING, like 10 runs in one:
AP runs over 220 pound DB’s like they aren’t even there.
Upon meeting AP, I had to get a taste of his world-renown grip. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself.
“AP, I’m Paul and I have got to feel that famous handshake.”
“All Day” obliged, grabbed my hand, and stepped in so close his face was about two inches from mine. To say it was intense would be an apt description.
“How’s that Paul?”
“Pretty good AP,” I said. “But definitely not the strongest grip I’ve ever felt.”
We started talking about the phenomenal season he just completed, his rehab and how he was feeling heading into this season. After a few minutes of that I said, “Alright AP, give me the real one this time,” and I stuck out my hand again. He grabbed it, made the meanest face ever and squeezed my hand about 10% harder.
“Ah, now we’re getting somewhere!”
I was barely able to wiggle my hand out of his.
We talked for another couple minutes and I told him what an inspiration he was and about how he essentially redefined what we expect from athletes in terms of recovery from injury and ensuing performance.
As we were talking, former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy walked up and joined our conversation.
“This is the guy, right here,” AP said, as he introduced me to Lacy. “Green Bay has finally got the back they’ve been looking for.”
Lacy was a cool character, totally low-key and relaxed. I asked him what his expectations were for the upcoming season, his first in the NFL.
“Just to stay healthy, man. And do everything I am asked. I’m ready to learn.”
People had started coming up to Peterson in groups to engage the NFL’s best running back, so I stuck out my hand again.
“AP, thank you so much for the time, great to meet you. But this time, I want the real AP handshake.”
He laughed, took my hand and really gave it to me this time, accompanied again by a super mean face. This was the real AP handshake and it hurt.
“OK, OK, AP! That’s my writing hand, man! Ouch!”
AP’s face went back to normal, and gradually, his lips pursed into a smile and he laughed.
“Yeah and I don’t need any lawsuits, man.”
We both chuckled and went our separate ways.
AP’s speech at the ESPY awards was straight from his heart and concluded with this great quote.
“A small mind cannot comprehend a big spirit. So, in order to be great, you gotta be willing to be misunderstood, to be talked about, to be mocked. But guess what? Stay strong, continue to work and thrive to be great.”
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