Eddie George is set to co-host the Titans’ pre-NFL draft virtual party Thursday evening, a chance for the Titans legend to reconnect with fans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. All the while, George won’t have his father far from his thoughts.
Eddie George Sr. is battling the coronavirus, his son revealed. The 70-year-old, who is currently in an assisted living facility in Philadelphia, was diagnosed last week.
“Prior to COVID-19, he was dealing with some other issues, some underlying health conditions,” George said of his father, “so he’s always in the back of my mind.”
George, who played running back for the Titans franchise from 1996-2003 and was a four-time Pro Bowler with the team, said he’s receiving frequent reports from family members in Philadelphia about the development of his father’s condition.
So far, the news has been good.
“He in fact is feeling a lot better,” George said Wednesday evening. “Recently ordered a quarter-pounder with cheese and bacon. So he seems to be in good spirits and improving health.
"My initial thought when I heard his diagnosis, given where he’s at with his health, is hopefully his condition doesn’t worsen or he won’t be able to survive its. But then the optimistic side of me, my faith and spirituality kicks in. ... Just trusting that he will get through this and battle this virus and continue to live on. That’s kind of how I’ve been approaching it."
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George said his father doesn’t have a phone, so speaking with him directly has been difficult. George’s uncle has often acted as a middle man.
“When I talk to my uncle, I tell him (to tell George Sr.) that I love him and so forth,” George said, adding that he hoped to give a call Wednesday night to the assisted living facility where his father is staying “just to hear his voice and he can hear my voice. And just let him know that people are saying prayers for him and he’s being thought of.”
George’s relationship with his father was complicated by George Sr.’s drug use during his son’s playing days. But the two have since reconciled.
“My father has always had his struggles with certain things, but for the most part, he was always there for me when he could be,” George said. “Taught me how to pray. Taught me to respect not only the game of football but others, and always do well in all aspects of my life. He was the perfect example of things that I shouldn’t do, what I should stay away from. So he’s blessed me with a great deal of wisdom with regards to that. He was the main reason why I played the game of football, was to try to have a relationship with my father. Especially the running back position. He never had the opportunity to play college football or professional football, and that was always his dream, and I wanted to pick up where he left off so he could fulfill that dream through me. That was always my goal and so my father has meant a lot to me in my life. I’ve just always loved him and admired him.”
George's takeaway from his father's diagnosis?
"It’s hitting closer to home more often than you would think," he said, "and that’s why it’s so important we don’t rush back into this so fast because it affects people differently. I would hate for us to have made strides now with the cases possibly going down, only to open the markets back up to have a spike again and have them go back into quarantine again. It needs to be taken seriously."