The students at Centerville ISD were in for a treat this morning when East Texas NFL player Chase Ford came as a special guest to read to the kids and share his own personal story.
Ford graduated Corrigan High School in 2008. He graduated and played football at Kilgore College before he transferred to play at Miami.
Now he plays for the Minnesota Vikings as a tight end.
Like many of the greats, his story comes with trials he had to overcome, but Ford lives as a prime example of a smalltown, country boy, that dared to dream big.
In many people's eyes he's made it to the top, but regardless of where he goes, he always remembers where he's been. Reading to the kids helps Ford to do just that.
"To come back and give to the kids is what I came here to do," said Ford. "When I was little and if a person came back to talk to us, that would have meant the world to me. That's why I just really wanted to give back to the kids."
While reading the kids stories, he's also sure to tell his own story on how he defied the odds of making it to the NFL.
Ford went undrafted coming out of Miami. Then was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles but cut after training camp.
"I was going to give it one more shot. I was going to give it one more year to see if I could get on somewhere," said Ford.
Ford's hard work and perseverance paid off, as he was later picked up by the Minnesota Vikings. He even worked his way up the ranks and earned himself a spot on the field.
Ford's former coach Mark Brown has witnessed first hand Ford's trials and tribulations
"Everybody in the back of their minds doubted Chase, but he continued to fight through and get better and better," said Brown. "Here he is today in the NFL. It just shows you if you have a dream, then act upon it and don't let anything get in your way."
"Hard work does pay off so just strive, and keep working hard until you achieve that goal," said Ford.
Ford says he will be staying at home to spend time with his family this offseason, until he has to go to Houston and start training again in February.
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