Earl Christian Campbell is a professional American football player who played for the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. He was born on March 29, 1955 in Tyler, Texas. He was the sixth of eleven children in his family. Their father died when he was very young. He began playing football at the age of 11, first as a linebacker and then as running back. He attended John Tyler High School whom he led to the largest championships (the Texas 4A State Championship).
After high school, he attended University of Texas at Austin, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1977. There he also received the Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy which was awarded to the most outstanding player in the Southwest Conference. He was chosen to the 1977 College Football All-America team by consensus and was also chosen to the First-team All-America by the AFCA in 1975. He was also selected as the Southwest Conference “running back of the year” each year at college, as well as being a member of the Texas Cowboys.
Earl Campbell was nicknamed “The Tyler Rose”. In the 1978 NFL Draft, he was selected by the Houston Oilers, who signed him on for a six year contract for $1.4 million. His first year on the team, he was named the “Offensive Rookie of the Year” by the Associated Press and the “Offensive Player of the Year” by the National Football League. He helped his team out of a slump and improved their win-loss record considerably. He was noted for his athletic ability, mainly his speed and power. His best performance with the NFL was in the year 1980, in which he ran for 1,934 yards which included four 200-yard runs including his personal best record of 206 yards in a game against the Chicago Bears.
In 1984, Campbell was traded to the New Orleans Saints. His former coach from the Oilers, O.A. Phillips was then the coach of the Saints so Campbell had no trouble adjusting. He only spent two more years playing with the Saints, before retiring officially in the preseason of 1986. The decision to transfer him had been controversial as many people felt that his skills had diminished by then due to his already long career having taken its toll on his body. Campbell is widely regarded as one of the most legendary running backs in National Football League’s history. He weighed 244 lbs, and could run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. He was one of the most revered and feared running backs of his time and could tackle any team’s defense. He was aptly nicknamed “the one man demolition team” by his peers.
On July 27, 1991, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was also made a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Although his career was relatively short lived, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest players of his generation. However, his body was over worked by the end of his career and he was even knocked unconscious a few times, due to which he began to face difficulty in walking properly and was confined to a wheelchair for some time. He developed severe arthritis in his knees and back and had a surgery to remove three bone spurs. He is now a prominent businessman, and operates a chain of restaurants. He also works to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis.