Earl Campbell and his son Tyler have something in common, and they're battling it together

January 11, 2013 5:24:00 PM PST
He is one of the greatest warriors ever to take to a Texas football field. Earl Campbell is a Heisman Trophy winner, a Hall of Famer and the heart of the Oilers 'Luv Ya Blue' era. Now, the Tyler Rose is battling a different opponent; this time on behalf of the son who's named for his hometown.

Eyewitness News sat down with both Earl and Tyler Campbell recently at their office in Austin.

Tyler Campbell sees his father like most of us do.

"My dad, in my book, is Superman," said Tyler.

Just ask the thousands of fans who cheered Earl Campbell when he appeared on the field at the Texans' game last weekend. It didn't even matter that he was on a walker.

But this Earl is a far cry from the powerful running back who broke records at the University of Texas and then as a Houston Oiler.

"It's funny, but my dad and I have the same story, whether people realize it or not, because I know what it's like to have the inability to walk," Tyler told us.

He was a junior at San Diego State five years ago when something happened the day after a game.

"I proceeded to get up and when I got out of bed, I fell flat on my face," said Tyler.

His roommate took him to the team doctor.

"My limbs were functioning on the left side, but not on the right side. And by this time, when we got to the training room, my speech was slurred," Tyler said.

Many tests later, it wasn't a concussion, but Multiple Sclerosis. Tyler told almost no one, not even his dad.

"I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me and I didn't want anyone to see me as weak," he said.

When Earl finally learned the truth,

"I kept asking my wife, 'Did he get it from me?' And she'd say, 'No, it's just something that happened,'" Earl told us.

Now the two have joined forces in the battle against MS, raising more than $60,000 and learning from each other.

"To be that young with this is one thing -- but he always smiles, he's always upbeat, he's always got it going," said Earl.

Tyler told us, "So, my perspective is I'm looking at Superman and Superman doesn't quit. So how am I going to quit?"

Tyler now runs his father's meat products business full time, and he and Earl are planning another fundraiser for the MS society in the spring.

But the biggest news? Tyler and his wife are expecting their first baby!

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