(Sports Network) - Adrian Peterson has a golden life littered with roadblocks,
tragedies, injuries, loss and heartache, but beaming with success. His pops
named him "All Day" because he never stops. The hood named him Purple Jesus
because he's the No. 1 pigskin peddler on the NFL set. Take his total life
experiences into account and he's really The Comeback Kid.
Peterson learned the art of resilience at a young age. He lost his older
brother, Brian, to a drunk driver and used football as medication. He starred
in Pee Wee football and his dad -- a former shooting guard at Idaho State,
whose NBA aspirations were shattered by an accidental shooting -- was the
When Peterson was 13, his father went to prison for laundering money for a
crack racket. The lure of drug money entrapped his dad, a Walmart truck driver
with 10 kids, making just eight dollars an hour. It was a tremendous loss to a
black family trying to survive in The Lone Star State. With his mother as
support, however, Peterson rebounded strongly in his dad's absence. He did his
thing in basketball, track and football, creating a future for himself beyond
His prolific talent is only half of what comprises Purple Jesus. Peterson's
complex life, familiar ghetto story and resilient nature, also endears him to
the hood. His street credibility is bonkers. Like Peterson, the hood is
resilient. In the trap, people tend to deal with adversity ranging from
imprisoned family to illegal guns and drugs and the absence of fathers for
extended and crucial periods of child development. These are elements of hood
life that few have the opportunity to rise above. Peterson makes a habit out
of it and inspires in the process.
His 2012 return from potentially catastrophic knee surgery is his dopest
Less than 10 months after surgery, Peterson's return has boosted a Minnesota
team that was 3-13 in 2011. A.D.'s rushing has offense -- strapped Vikes,
sitting at 6-4, 1 1/2 games behind the 7-2 Chicago Bears. Purple Jesus has
risen to the NFL lead in yardage (1,128) and yards per game (112.8). He's not
contact-shy either. He's putting in work with 224 touches. The explosion is
official, and he's breaking dudes down like the old A.D., forcing a league-
high 28 missed tackles.
He's on his way to the greatest major knee recovery ever, for a running back.
A.D. doesn't know how to half step. His life reflects that. He just picks up
the pieces, barrels ahead and shines.
Like Peterson's body, life on the margins can be brittle as a potato chip and
tough as nails. It's full of people who have a desire to be great, but lack
resources to make it happen. There's a cruel hypocrisy that lives within the
hood culture. Peterson's dad and mom were college students with great
intentions, but the criminal element was always hovering. Peterson has
ridiculous ambitions, like wanting to rush for 2,500 yards in a season, but
his body won't allow him to fulfill these goals. Falling down and getting back
up is what A.D. does. It's a hood staple too.
At times, his life has been a movie -- celebrity-ridden, affluent and NFL
billboard plentiful. It's also been a tragic Broadway play, with guns,
cocaine, loss, family and failure as leading characters.
As a freshman at Oklahoma, Peterson finished second in the coveted Heisman
voting. His next two years were bitter sweet as a high-ankle sprain and broken
collarbone limited his next two seasons. The upside was his dad came back from
prison in 2006. Peterson left Oklahoma after his junior season with the future
looking brighter than 2 Chainz grill piece. But before he was able to enjoy
becoming the 7th pick of the NFL's first-round by the Minnesota Vikings, he
had to endure the murder of another half-brother, the night before the NFL
That setback didn't knock his hustle, either. Like Bumpy Johnson did Dutch
Shultz in the movie "Hoodlum," Peterson stormed the NFL, breaking the single-
game rushing record with 296 yards. A week later, Peterson injured his LCL in
his right knee against the Packers. In typical gritty, A.D. style, Peterson
got right in two months and returned to torch Detroit for two scores. Despite
doubters, Peterson was confident he could handle this second knee problem,
because he man-handled the first one. But many people felt that this injury
might knock him out the box. And even if his knee held, would his psyche?
The clarity Whitney Houston's voice lost because of drugs was obvious. Her
presence was felt, but her impact as a vocalist was compromised. Many thought
A.D.'s banged up knees would meet the same fate. Even Mr. Workhorse himself,
Jerry Rice, felt Peterson was rushing his return. Seems Rice and the other
doubters were wrong.
It's all good. They didn't really know A.D. As usual, when his pads were
against the stadium walls, he came back. A mere return wasn't going to cut it
either. He wanted that T.I. treatment. Peterson let opposing defenses know
that the King was back, and with every tough yard gained, he's snatching the
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