Former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman revealed to NFL Network that he played the bulk of the 2016 season while his infant son was in intensive care and ultimately lost the 1 1/2-month old boy on Nov. 5.
In a lengthy profile by NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer, Foreman said his son was born on Sept. 16, one day before Texas played California. D’Onta Vanton Foreman Jr. weighed just 15 ounces and spent the next 50 days in intensive care.
“I always dreamed of having a boy and naming him after me and you know, just seeing him grow. You know, just loving him,” Foreman said in the exclusive interview. Until now, Foreman has never hinted this was something going on in his life.
“He was a fighter, you know,” Foreman added. “He would like fight and he’s going to make it and everything will be fine.”
The passing of his son, D’Onta Jr. pic.twitter.com/KTN86tAyBk
— NFL (@NFL) April 24, 2017
Foreman said the night before Texas played at Texas Tech, D’Onta Jr. developed an infection in his intestinal tract. The next day, Foreman ran for 341 yards on 33 carries to help secure a 45-37 victory. It was the third-best rushing performance in UT history.
After the game, Foreman acted like nothing was bothering him. Then-offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was taking heat for not using Foreman on third- and fourth-down situations late in the fourth quarter. “Coach (Charlie) Strong said 341, and I was shocked,’ Foreman said inside Jones AT&T Stadium. “I was like, ‘Wow! I had that many yards?’”
Foreman and his twin brother, Armanti, were driving back home to Texas City after the game when D’Onta called his mother. That’s when she informed D’Onta that his son was gone.
“I really didn’t know how to feel,” Foreman told NFL Network. “I was like numb. I was driving and then I was crying while I was driving. I was crushed and I was so hurt. I feel like something was taken away from me before I even really got the chance to experience it.”
By midseason, Texas officials were pushing Foreman as a possible Heisman Trophy contender. The junior was meeting with reporters every Tuesday, something that is typical of all major award candidates. But Foreman missed his scheduled interview session the Tuesday after the Tech game on Nov. 8.
A UT spokesman told reporters that Foreman returned to Texas City for a family issue. Nobody pressed the matter.
Foreman ran for 167 yards against West Virginia, 250 yards at Kansas and another 165 against TCU. He eventually captured the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back. Foreman finished the season with 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Shortly after the season, Foreman announced he was skipping his senior year to go into the NFL draft, which begins Thursday. He’s been projected as a second-round pick on some mock draft boards.
“Still to this day, I have no idea how he was able to shoulder all those, all the things that was going on,” former UT running backs coach Anthony Johnson said.
The report ends on a positive note, though. Foreman told Kremer that his girlfriend, Carissa, is pregnant again. The projected due date is Sept. 16, 2017 — exactly one year after D’Onta Jr. was born.
“I’m excited, but I’m worried,” Foreman said. “I’m worried about not having to go through that same situation again.”
The NFL Network story ends with a brief image of D’Onta Jr.’s headstone.
“He won’t be forgotten by me,” Foreman said.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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