Chuck Foreman, the main speaker, dropped one of his crutches as he walked to the microphone to address a sizable King Turkey Day audience. “I don’t drop footballs like that,” he said as the crowd laughed. The KTD committee sure did not drop the ball when asking Foreman, the former Minnesota Viking great running back, to visit Worthington.
Foreman, who was recovering from ankle surgery, claimed that the people he encountered during the KTD celebration's peak made the trek from his home in the Twin Cities to southwest Minnesota worthwhile.
“It’s so great to be here,” he said. “Because I can feel the love. A lot of love goes a long ways, and that’s the aura I feel around here today.”
The 71-year-old Foreman, who helped the Vikings win three Super Bowls while enjoying a remarkable NFL career in the 1970s, was obviously moved by the response he received.
“The thing about getting older is you have more experiences,” he said. “You see a lot of different things. You see what it was and what it is, how it used to be, and what it can be. And I’m seeing a lot of good things here. That’s how you make me feel.”
Foreman attended the University of Miami and played football there while growing up in Maryland. The Vikings, led by coach Bud Grant, selected the fullback in the first round in 1973.
“It was probably the single best thing that ever happened to me,” said Foreman. “Because not only did I come to a great football team with a lot of great people on it, but the people of Minnesota were just so welcoming. And I feel today the same way.”
He also discussed his views on both current and past Vikings.
“We’ve had a good run here in Minnesota,” he said. “I’ve met (new head coach) Kevin McConnell and his staff, and I think we’re in good hands. I think we’re in a good place and I think we’re going to bigger places.”
Earlier in the day, Foreman had posed for numerous photos and signed autographs for both young and old fans. Foreman is one of the few sports figures to be invited as the guest of honor in the lengthy history of KTD guest speakers. Although few people in the crowd probably remember watching Foreman play because his career ended more than 40 years ago, KTD officials hoped his appearance would be remembered by everyone.
“It’s been a long time since I ran the football,” Foreman said. “But I still feel loved. And respected. And appreciated. And that was a long time ago. So I’m going to once again thank you very much for having me. When I go home I’ll have very good memories of the day.”
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