From the first moment he returned, the memories came rushing back for Earl Campbell.
"I tell you, it feels like just yesterday we were just sitting out back and I could hear Corky Nelson and the coaches," said Campbell. "I wasn't lying because I remember all of that."
40 years ago, he made memories for an entire city.
John Tyler captured the state title.
"I believe the city of Tyler was coming together, not coming together, nobody knew how to put all that together," said Campbell. "We went down there and won the state championship and I think the people in the city of Tyler learned how to live as one."
Campbell eventually found himself as the Heisman winner at the University of Texas.
He was the #1 pick in the NFL Draft, eventually earning his way into the Hall of Fame.
That ceremony was recreated today, 22 years later.
"John Tyler becomes the 67th high school to be designated as an official high school extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame which you will always have forever," said George Veras, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Being here back in his hometown probably means more to him than being in Canton, for sure." said Earl's son Christian. "When you are in your hometown in front of your family and friends, I think it resonates more."
A plaque will now immortalize Campbell at his old high school.
Now every student will know, who once walked in the same halls.
"If you really know my dad, you know he really loves the city of Tyler and with he and my mom both being from here, they always say, there is no place like home," said Christian Campbell.
"He still has a smile on his face and he still stands up tall and he represents not just Tyler, not just Texas but he represents the whole nation as a person you should still look up to," said current JT head football coach Ricklan Holmes.
And they did today, as the greatest Lion returned, sporting the iconic Hall of Fame jacket.
"I'm going to be very honest, I won't lie to you, I framed my other jacket." said Campbell. "The Hall of Fame had someone make me a new jacket, this is my new jacket, so I am like you, I want to see how it looks when I see the camera this evening too."
A perfect fit for his lasting legacy.
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