Oilers Hall of Famer Earl Campbell a Fan of Titans Running Backs Past (Eddie George) and Present (Derrick Henry)


INDIANAPOLIS - Earl Campbell dished out punishment when he ran the football, and to this day he's still regarded as one of the best power backs in NFL history.

Derrick Henry, the franchise's current running back, has a fan in Campbell, who's been watching from afar. And the former Houston Oilers back said in a phone interview with Titans Online he's always admired Eddie George, who broke most of Campbell's records during his playing days with the team.

George is among those scheduled to attend Campbell's 8th Annual Flavors of Austin, Texas, this weekend. The event raises funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis.

"I had a chance to watch Derrick Henry when he made that 99-yard touchdown run this season and, Oh man," Campbell said of Henry's dash vs the Jaguars. "I think Derrick Henry is a great football player, and what he does with the football is impressive. The way they play football now is much different than when I played, and that is not saying anything bad about Derrick Henry. I mean, somebody that can run 99 yards on a play and push down 2 or 3 guys along the way, that dude can play football.

"I've been watching Derrick Henry since he was at the University of Alabama, and he's a big-time running back. I respect and like what he does."


Henry ran for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 2018 season with the Titans.

During a two-game stretch vs the Jaguars and Giants late in the season, Henry racked up 408 yards in back-to-back games, breaking Campbell's franchise record of 405 yards.

At the time, Henry spoke highly of Campbell.

"Earl Campbell, that's a beast, man," Henry said. "I got a chance to talk to him (in the past), and that's a legend in my eyes. For me to be mentioned with his name, it's like a dream come true."

This week, Campbell recalled that conversation.

Campbell said he'd love to chat with Henry again, but admitted he was caught by surprise regarding the two-game yardage record.

"I have been out of football for so long -- You mean I still have records in football?", Campbell said with a smile. "Well, damn."

Then, the five-time Pro Bowler, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner who ran for 8,574 yards and 73 touchdowns while playing from 1978-84 with the Oilers, talked more about Henry. Campbell played his final two NFL seasons with the Saints, and finished his career with 9,407 yards and 74 touchdowns.

"I've never met him, but I talked to him on phone when he was at Alabama and told him how proud I was of him," Campbell said of Henry. "I let him know I was a fan of his, and if there's anything I could ever do for him, just let me know.

"When you talk to him, let him know the offer is still good. Let him know if there is anything I can ever do for him, he's welcome to call me, and sit down and talk to me."


Campbell will see George, the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 10,009 yards, this weekend.

In addition to George, Pro Football Hall of Fame members Tony Dorsett, Joe Greene, Charles Haley, Ken Houston, Randall McDaniel, John Randle, and Dallas Cowboys legend Ed "Too Tall" Jones will be in attendance at the Flavors of Austin at the Hyatt Regency Austin on Saturday to lend their support for the Pro Player Foundation and the society's goal of changing the world for everyone affected by MS.

Earl's youngest son, Tyler, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007.

"Eddie George, he has that million dollar smile," Campbell said. "And he's good people. And when he speaks, people listen. .. I am very proud and happy about Eddie George. That young man was a great football player, and now he is an actor. But he looks like he could still play football.

"First and foremost, though, Eddie George is a first-class guy."

Campbell is excited about the upcoming weekend.

The 2019 Flavors of Austin will benefit the Pro Player Foundation and the highlighted charity for the event will be the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The annual Flavors of Austin event raises awareness for MS while showcasing the cuisine and chefs in the Austin area.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007 while playing football at San Diego State University, Tyler Campbell has refused to let the disease stop him. He now serves as an MS Ambassador for Pro Player Foundation and the National MS Society, with the support of his father.

"Football was a part of my life, and I thank God for giving me the talent. I played with great guys that made me look good. But life goes on, and I have gotten into other things since football," said the 63-year-old Campbell.

"The thing about those in the sports world is we always try and look out for one another, and I am very proud of this event. By the athletes coming back for this event, it means a lot to me. Athletes are good about giving back. And that's what America is all about, helping one another."


Titans Online looks back at RB Derrick Henry's 2018 season, in which he rushed for a career-high 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns. (AP Photos)

A first-round pick (14th overall) by the Houston Oilers in the 1996 NFL Draft, Eddie George became only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards, while never missing a start, as Tennessee's starter through 2003. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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