Soon before former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman reported to Texans rookie mini camp Thursday, he heard from another former Texas running back who became an NFL star in Houston: Earl Campbell.
“Earl called me, I forgot what day it was, but it was the other day he called,” Foreman recalled Saturday. “We had a conversation, he’s a great man. I’ve learned a lot from being able to talk to him.”
39 years after the Oilers selected Campbell with the first pick of the draft, the Texans selected Foreman in the third round with the 89th overall selection. After winning the Heisman at Texas, Campbell won an MVP in the NFL, and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, so he’s someone Foreman intends to lean on as he makes his own NFL journey.
“I’ll just continue to talk to him, and get advice from him,” he said. “He’s been here, he’s been in the NFL, he’s done great things, so that’s somebody I definitely have in my corner, and somebody I can definitely call and talk to whenever. He’s really close to my family, he really welcoming, so that’s somebody I’ll definitely keep in touch with.”
As a junior at Texas in 2016, Foreman ran for 2,208 yards, second most in the nation, and was one of five runners to carry the football 300 times, a load he feels will help him at the next level.
“Being able to run the ball and carry a load like that, I feel like at any time I’m ready to step on the field, and be productive whenever they call my number,” he said.
The job of an NFL running back is more than just running the ball, especially for the Texans, who expect their backs to produce in the passing game. In three seasons at Texas, Foreman only caught 13 passes, but he feels like he can produce in that aspect of the game.
“I feel great about my skills catching the ball, we just didn’t do it a lot at Texas” he said. “I’ve very confident in the way I catch the ball, and I just really go out there and show it.”
Foreman will have to opportunity to prove himself once he takes the field for the Texans, but for now, the 21-year old is excited to playing for a team he grew up watching in the shadows of where his mentor, Campbell, once starred.
“My dad was a big Houston Texans fan, and I watched his team all my life, really growing up. It’s just unreal, me being apart of it. Like I said, I just want to get in, do what I’m asked to do, and take it all and embrace it all.”