I had quite a career on and off the field in my NFL days. Great memories! Of course, I captured them in my autobiography, The Pettis Norman Story: A Journey through the Cotton Fields, to the Super Bowl, and into Servant Leadership. I put some snippets on Facebook too!
The most incredible part of sharing my story is the people who follow along — friends, fans, colleagues, and fellow Smithites from my incredible alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University. It’s an honor to shout out JCSU, for it was the start of it all — my higher education and honing my football prowess under Coach Eddie McGirt. Yes, I’d say Coach McGirt prepared me for life as a Dallas Cowboy under the best NFL coach in history, Coach Tom Landry.
You have to read the stories to appreciate the monumental opportunities that God put in my path. I didn’t squander these opportunities, but put them to the best use possible. A stubborn work ethic and a belief that my efforts would pay off — that’s the message I leave to younger generations. That, and an attitude of gratitude.
Here’s some feedback from people who know my book well…because they contributed to it!
Dorothy Counts-Scoggins, Civil Rights Pioneer
“Pettis located to Charlotte after his father died and became good friends with my family. He was like a big brother to me at Johnson C. Smith University after I had made that initial attempt to attend Harding High School as a Black student on an all-White campus. Pettis has marched and sacrificed as well for the cause of equality, all detailed in his book.”
The Late Charley Pride, Legendary Country Western Singer and Musician
“Pettis was a great football player and successful businessman. But did you know his athleticism extended to golf? We sponsored a lot of charitable golf tournaments, and I’m glad he captures those philanthropic memories in his book.”
Robert Decherd, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of A. H. Belo Corporation, Parent Company of The Dallas Morning News
“Pettis is one of the true citizens of Dallas who cares, a former sportsman who devoted half his time to civic matters and never sought notoriety after his football career. He was always a person who exhibited calmness and had an innate insightfulness in his approach to very complex problems — calm and reasonable. He could lead men and women because he was just extraordinarily respected. Everyone was in the same place in their regard for Pettis. I remember when he approached me about the Dallas Together Forum. ‘We need to do this,’ he said, just dogged about the need and obligation to make it work. I agreed. It is hard to say no to Pettis and the city is a better place because of it. I’m glad he’s chronicling these moments in his book.”
Michael Meredith, Director, Screenwriter, Producer and Son of Don Meredith
“As far back as I can remember, my dad spoke fondly of his “Buddy ol’ pal, Pettis.” Later in life when I became friends with Pettis myself, I understood why. He has that rare combination of grace, courage and fierce determination. I feel very lucky to know him and to have worked with Pettis on several of my film projects. From what I know of his life, the book is bound to be amazing.”
I’ll share more “advance praise” in my following blog posts. In the meantime, let me know how you like the book and drop me a line. I enjoy hearing from you!