POTTSTOWN >> Marvin Pearson could only describe the past three weeks as a “whirlwind.”
Who could blame him?
The Pottstown senior, who started to lose his vision in second grade before fully losing sight near the age of 10, has been making waves across the national media circuit after scoring his varsity touchdown against Pottsgrove during the team’s Homecoming game. After a trip to the “Ellen Show” and a special surprise that landed him as a VIP visitor in New Orleans to meet Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Pearson is back in the blue jersey and pads gearing up for Thanksgiving Day’s clash with Owen J. Roberts.
He’s back home.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Pearson said after practice Thursday afternoon, four days after coming back from New Orleans. “I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities. This is definitely one of those stories where you get to tell your great-grandkids down the road,”
He’ll have quite the story to tell.
Pearson’s rise to fame started after he came into the latter stages of Pottstown’s 48-8 loss to Pottsgrove in the annual “Backyard Brawl” on October 1. Pearson, who is also deaf but wears high power cochlear implants to improve his hearing, took a quarterback keeper 68-yards untouched through the Pottsgrove line, capping his touchdown performance with a slide past the goal line. Video of his touchdown run went viral on Youtube and Facebook, which ultimately made its way onto the national circuit and across the desk of “The Ellen Show” producers. They called his coaches as soon as possible.
“The producers reached out to my coaches and my mom,” Pearson said. “Coach (John) Armato broke the news to me and at first I was like ‘He’s just pulling this on me. I’m not important or lucky enough to fly out to LA to be on Ellen Show.’ But when I finally realized this was all real — I’m not the type of person to get excited — but I definitely stepped out of character and got real excited and I was jumping for joy.
“I was blessed to have such an opportunity to meet Ellen, who is such an inspiration herself. I was honored to be able to share my story with the world that people with disabilities can overcome anything thrown their way.”
The surprises kept coming.
“When the producers asked me if Drew Brees was my favorite quarterback, I was thinking, ‘OK they might bring him out to the show,’” Pearson said. “They did a lot better than that.”
Along with a $10,000 scholarship to the school of his choosing, Pearson was relayed the news that he would fly down to New Orleans to meet Brees, his childhood idol. He made the trip last week where he was able to meet Brees and the team before sitting in the club seats in the Saints’ 25-23 loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday.
“I was feeling saintly, no pun intended,” Pearson said. “I had to be held up the whole time. I was like ‘wow, I’m meeting such a big figure in my life’. There aren’t many opportunities where you get to meet Drew Brees and he gives you a signed jersey and you have players taking off their gloves like Michael Thomas (rookie wide receiver) and giving them to you. To meet Mark Ingram (running back) and joke with the guys, I felt like a part of them and they definitely made me feel like family. I definitely had a good time.
“They reiterated to me what I’ve been saying the whole time. Never let anything get you down. There isn’t anything in life that should keep you down. Just keep pushing forward. You’ll always have struggles in your life but you can’t let that stop you. You just need to keep pushing forward to be great.”
His newfound fame didn’t garner Pearson just scholarships and a VIP trip, it yielded him a chance to become a role model for others with disabilities — a character trait he’s yearned to practice throughout it all.
“A lot of people talk about their kids being blind or having a disability in general,” he said. “They ask me to come to their school or help with their senior projects in college. I remember a lady in specific who reached out to me, who had a daughter who played tackle football with all boys. Shout out to her for not holding her daughter back and for my mom for not holding me back from playing football. People like that are the ones who give us a shot and give us a chance to be a great.
“I always wanted to be someone that people looked up to. I definitely feel honored to have an opportunity to be the role model to people that I’ve always wanted to be.”