TCSR: Could you talk about playing football at Forest Hills High School?
OA: “It was an up-and-coming school at the time. It was predominately white, and many of us (blacks) were transported to Forest Hills High School from the projects. It was a great transition for many of us African-American kids, who had never rode on a school bus before. We did the best we could there.”
TCSR: Why did you choose to attend the University of Miami (Florida)?
OA: “Well, Florida, Florida State, Florida A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Miami all had a chance at me. These were all highly interesting to me, but I didn’t want to go far away from home. I had an older brother that had went to Arkansas A&M (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello) back in the day; yet my mom never got to see him play, so I didn’t want to do that. She was an hour and a half away, so she could to come to every game.”
TCSR: Could you talk about breaking Chuck Foreman’s rushing records?
OA: “Well, I knew my sophomore year that I was close to doing it. I heard that they hadn’t had a 1,000 yard rusher in a season. Chuck Foreman has been a main stay at the University and he’s pretty famous at the school. All I wanted to do was to be equal or better than him. If I pushed myself to be better than him, I knew I could play professionally.”
TCSR: Could you talk about being the University’s all-time leading rusher?
OA: “Well, they had a lot of great backs in recent history; however, none of them decided to stay all four years. Had they stayed all four years, they would have broken my record. Fortunately for me, I was mature enough to eventually go into the pro’s after college. Not only that, I wasn’t ready to go my junior year and went after my senior year. I had great guys that have done well in the NFL behind me, so I’m so honored to have the record. It has been there for 20-years now. Hopefully, it would never get broken.”
TCSR: What are your thoughts on first year Miami head coach Al Golden?
OA: “I think he’s going to do great things at the University of Miami. He comes from a tight network of coaches with a philosophy that’s proven to work. His philosophy is proven and his team’s have played smart football. He’s a Jersey guy, which I found out when I met him. I think he’s going to turn around the program around in due time. Hopefully, they will go back to being the well-respected program that it was in the past.”
TCSR: Do you think Al Golden’s going from Temple to Miami would hurt or help him?
OA: “I think any coach that has turned around a struggling program, whether it’s a big or small school, can do it at a proven school, like Miami. I think the move from Temple to Miami will give him better athletes that he could have never had at Temple. It would give him a better chance to win. But mainly, if you get the players to buy into your system, you’ll win.”
TCSR: What did it mean to you to be the 8th overall pick in the 1979 NFL draft?
OA: “I was kind of surprised. The New York Giants had talked to me prior to the draft. They said they would be drafting me in the first round. They passed on me to take Phil Sims, then the Cardinals took me with the 8th overall pick. I still ended up playing for the Giants seven years later. But I still enjoy and I’m honored for the Cardinals giving me my birth.”
TCSR: You went to two Pro Bowls in your career, including one as a rookie. It is more common now than when you were playing. Could you talk about that?
OA: “I was in the same backfield with some great running backs. I had guys that were my mentors and learned from, so I was very honored being the first running back out of the reserves to be selected. I was honored about that.”
TCSR: What did it mean to you to be the 1979 Rookie of the Year?
OA: “It proved that even though I didn’t come from a big college at the time – the University of Miami didn’t have the notoriety as it does now – Notre Dame, Southern California, Texas, and UCLA were the big schools at the time. It made me feel good, because those players from the other institutions and had more accolades than me, but yet, I was better than all of them that year. It also shows you that it’s not where you come from, but it’s where you go when you get the chance.”
TCSR: Could you talk about being the Cardinals all-time leading rusher?
OA: “I will always be the Cardinals all-time leading rusher. That’s the St. Louis Cardinals that is. The Arizona Cardinals may be different. I put up 8,000 yards with the program. It was a great stay. It was a good marriage for a long time.”
TCSR: After leaving the Cardinals, you signed with the New York Giants. After playing for the Giants, you played in and won two Super Bowl Championships with the Giants. What did that mean to you?
OA: “I always thought I would end up with the Giants. From the beginning when it didn’t work out and then seven years later, I go there and we eventually made it to the Super Bowl my first year there. We beat the Denver Broncos for the Super Bowl, which was a great feat. After that Super Bowl, I thought I would never get another chance at it. At least I made it to that one. I had told Maurice Carthon and my roommate from college, Kenny Johnson, that if there was a Super Bowl in Florida and I was playing in the game as a featured back, I would end up being the Super Bowl MVP. 12-years after being drafted, I was able to keep my word by doing that.”
TCSR: Now after your playing career, you are now a motivational speaker and an entrepreneur with a business, besides having a contract with Steiner Sports to sign autographs at events. Could you talk about your life now from your previous life in the NFL?
OA: “I want to change the perception of athletes for one. I thought also, if I was a motivational speaker, I would have a chance to change young people’s lives to make them go in the right direction. As an athlete, you have a big influence on people’s lives.”
TCSR: You are also involved with several charities, including your own. Why did you want to start your own charitable organization?
OA: “My TWO FOUR organization is a motivational clothing line. My mantra is to move the chains, like in football when you get a first down. It is about positive motivation, whither it’s in the classroom or in the business field. It’s always about going forward, not backwards.”
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©2007-2018 The Capital Sports Report. Please honor copyright! Piracy hurts writers, devalues their works, and puts you and your employer at risk of lawsuits. All original materials contained on this website are protected by the United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcasted without the prior written permission.