02-05-07A former Pauls Valley panther was among those who earned a Super Bowl ring this past weekend. His character is what stands out most among his peers...
As the pride of Pauls Valley, OK TJ Rushing's teachers and peers say he was one of the most outstanding young men they ever met.
The former Pauls Valley panther was an aggressive playmakers on the football field.
Off the field, those who know him say TJ was just as aggressive. Educators say maintaining a high grade point was a must in the Rushing household.
"He made a 'B'," said Peter Campbell, Rushings's former principal. "Some of the kids said that he was complaining, and really upset and some of the kids said, 'T.J, you made a 'B.' He said, 'You know it maybe good enough for some people but its not good enough for my momma."
Rushing graduated in the top 5 percent of his class, and he coaches will never forget his hard work.
"He was the first person there and last to leave," said Chad Chronister, Rushing's former high school coach. "He took those traits and even when he went to Stanford when he came back home he would be in the weight room where a lot of guys come home on vacation, he's home working and trying to get better.
"He had a dream to play in the league, and he tried every way in the world to keep that dream alive."
TJ was also a master when it came to time management, juggling three different sports, being the class vice president, and completing his school work.
"When you saw TJ and he had spare time, some of the other kids would be out playing, but TJ would spend his time studying," Campbell said.
Even his former teammates were glad to see all of TJ's hardwork culminate with a Super Bowl ring.
"I'm proud of him, if anyone deserved it he does," said Gary Owens, Rushing's former teammate. "I hope he gets another one, and Im really proud of him."
After achieving a monumental accolade in just his first season in the NFL, everyone who taught and coached TJ Rushing at Pauls Valley will never forget his outstanding character.
"Just overwhelmed by his athletic ablitity," Campbell said. "But I was also overwhelmed by being a good person, and the kind of person you would like to be around, or your son to be, whether he played athletics or not."
TJ still lives in Pauls Valley during the offseason. Locals are planning a celebration, but haven't set a date yet.