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Following Felton: Former Sequoyah Chief paves way to Pro Bowl

Published: 2:49 PM, 01/07/2013 Last updated: 3:00 PM, 01/07/2013
 

Author: Brandon Keys
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

In the summer of 2012, Jerome Felton was looking for the right fit. So were the Minnesota Vikings. Both had an idea of what they wanted. Felton wanted a more stable situation in the NFL, and the Vikings wanted a dependable full back to aide Adrian Peterson in his return from a reconstructed ACL. After the NFL Pro Bowl roster's were announced earlier
this week, both parties seem to be happy with their investment. After all, a great running back is only as good as the guy blocking in front.

In an interview with Twin Cities ESPN 1500, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier spoke of how imprtant Jerome and the full back spot was to the team. “At that position you've got to be a single-minded guy because you're going to be in a lot of collisions with some pretty good linebackers,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “He enjoys his role, he's embraced it. It's a little bit of a dying breed it seems in our league. There are some teams that don't even carry a fullback on their roster,” said Fraizer.

Some teams don't carry a fullback, and that's really how Felton ended up with the Vikings.
The Lions, who drafted Felton, switched to a more open offense and parted ways with the former Sequoyah Chiefs standout, just before the start of his third season.
The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton, were the next stop for Felton, but that lasted just 8 games, and he was claimed on waivers by the Colts. Felton finished out the year in Indy, and looked for greener pastures this past offseason. Felton's skill set only matches a few team's philosophies.

The Vikings needed a guy to come in and help rebuild a running
game that few expected to be great, with the ongoing recovery of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. Felton impressed Minnesota in camp, and hasn't stopped. “We looked at all the tape in the offseason and we realized that that would help our football team, help our run game. We made the decision to get Jerome in here.”

It wasn't just Fraizer that saw potential.
Local coaches here in Monroe County knew Felton could reach this level of play. Former Sequoyah Chiefs defensive coordinator and Felton's lineback coach at Sequoyah, Doug Justice believed Felton would climb to the top from day 1.
“I heard that Jerome made the Pro Bowl and it reminded me of the first time I met him. He was coming up with the eighth graders for workouts. He told me that day he was going to play in the NFL. I had heard that from kids before but I believed him. That was his dream and he worked everyday to achieve it. To be recognized by your peers as one the best at your position is a great honor that he can be proud of and all Chiefs can be proud too,” said Justice.

Current Sequoyah Chiefs runningbacks coach Mike Black coached Felton, and is proud of what he's accomplished. “ We're all proud of Jerome. For him to go in and contribute like that, and make a difference is just amazing. He's worked so hard to get to where he is, and he deserves all the recognition. I know his family and all of Monroe County are definitely proud,” said Black.

Felton has a chance on Sunday to help Adrian Peterson break Eric Dickerson's all time single season rushing record. With just 208 yards Peterson and Felton can write their way into the record books. Here's hoping Felton makes history. He's already accomplished more than most thought he would in 2012. Peterson can surely relate. Both had low expectations and have combined to be a formidable force in the NFC.

Felton is still as humble as ever and knows his teammates,
had alot to do with his selection. “The guys I played against (would) come up to me and tell me certain things, so I definitely felt like I had a shot,” he said. “Obviously, we've had a lot of success running the ball and that goes to Adrian and our offensive line also. I definitely thought I had a shot. It's still a pleasant surprise and something I'm really grateful for,” said Felton.


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