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Preston Pearson

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Pearson signs autographs for fans, 2012
No. 26
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1945-01-17) January 17, 1945 (age 71)
Place of birth: Freeport, Illinois
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Career information
High school: Freeport (IL)
College: Illinois
NFL draft: 1967 / Round: 12 / Pick: 298
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career Template:If empty statistics
Rushing yards: 3,609
Average: 3.8
Touchdowns: 13
Stats at
Stats at

Preston James Pearson (born January 17, 1945 in Freeport, Illinois) is a former professional American football running back in the National Football League who played for the Baltimore Colts (1967–1969), the Pittsburgh Steelers (1970–1974), and the Dallas Cowboys (1975–1980). Before his NFL career, he excelled at basketball for the University of Illinois. He did not play college football.

Professional career


Pearson was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the twelfth round of the 1967 NFL Draft despite never playing football in college.[1] Throughout his NFL career, Pearson was used frequently as a rusher, receiver, and kickoff returner on special teams. He played for some of the most famous teams of his era, and played in five Super Bowls (Super Bowl III, IX, X, XII, and XIII) – tied for second most all-time.[2] His best season was in 1975, when he rushed for 509 yards, caught 27 passes for 351 yards, and gained another 391 yards on kickoff returns. He then went on to assist the Cowboys to a Super Bowl appearance by catching 12 passes for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in their two playoff games, including a seven reception, 123 yard, three touchdown performance against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game. His team ended up losing the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he had a good performance – rushing for 14 yards and catching five passes for 53 yards.

In his 14 NFL seasons, Pearson rushed for 3,609 yards, caught 254 passes for 3,095 yards, returned seven punts for 40 yards, and gained 2,801 yards on kickoff returns. Overall, Pearson gained 9,545 total yards and scored 33 touchdowns (17 rushing, 13 receiving, two kickoff returns and one fumble recovery).

During the latter part of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, Pearson was widely recognized as the player who defined the position of "third-down back."

Pearson also holds the distinction of being one of the few, if not the only, players to have been led by Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Tom Landry — three of the greatest coaches in NFL history with eight Super Bowl titles among them.

Not only were Pearson’s coaches Hall of Famers, but also his quarterbacks (Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach), fellow running backs (Lenny Moore, Franco Harris and Tony Dorsett) are also enshrined in Canton.

Asia Pacific Football League

During the formation of the Asia Pacific Football League, Pearson was contracted by the league to consult and assist the league in its organizational efforts. What became of his role is unknown as the APFL was never formed.[3]

After football

In 1981, Pearson teamed with self promoter Janie Tilford to form Pro-Style Associates. Pro-Style began by matching corporations with athletic talent to create a unique marketing endeavor for special events. Preston is the president of Pro-Style Associates.

He wrote a 1985 memoir, Hearing the Noise, My Life in the NFL, ISBN 978-0688041915.


External links