Running Through Autzen: Reuben Droughns!

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon

Before a Stanford game years back, a large flock of Ducks met at PK Park for the annual football letter-winner’s tailgater. One of the more prominent O-Ducks in attendance was Reuben Droughns, one of Oregon’s greatest running backs.

Droughns had four games where he rushed for over 200 yards: 202 vs. Michigan State (1998), 207 vs. Arizona (’99), 214 vs. Stanford (’98) and 217 vs. WSU (’98). His top season was 1999 where earned All-Pac-10 honors by gaining 1234 yards, which ranks him ninth at Oregon for a single season.

Reuben came to Eugene after a stellar high school career at Anaheim High School, where he ran for 4915 yards and 49 touchdowns. He also excelled at Merced Junior College, where he got the attention of the Ducks.

From NBC Sports NW Video

Reuben Droughns was so exceptional…

A third round draft pick in the 1999 draft by the Detroit Lions, Droughns also played for the Miami Dolphins (2001) the Denver Broncos (2002-4), the Cleveland Browns (2005-6) and the New York Giants (2007-8), where he earned a Super Bowl championship ring. His NFL career stats: 3602 yards rushing on 929 attempts, 929 yards receiving and 25 total touchdowns.

Reuben and his wife Emily are rearing three girls: Bernadette, MacKenzie, and Grayson. Reuben says he hopes MacKenzie, who is 13 and excels in volleyball, will one day be a Duck.

Q and A with Reuben Droughns:

JET: Why did you come to Oregon in the first place?

RD: You know it was one of those things that Oregon came out to me when I was in high school … Coach (Tom) Osborne came out to my high school and recruited me, and you know, I just fell in love with Oregon right then and there. I had my happiest time here … honestly I wish I would have been here all four years. I went to a junior college for two years then Oregon stuck by me, so I stuck by them and came up here and had a great time.

 
JET: What was your personal highlight playing for Oregon?

RD: My personal highlight in a game was my first game against Michigan State. I was both nervous and excited and very scared, but it was a great opportunity for me to get started … they came up to me and said I was the starting running back, that was just a great celebrating moment in my life.

JET:. What occurred after that?

RD: So, I ended up playing two years for the Ducks … got drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions … played two years there … went to Denver and had a 1000-yard rushing year. Denver made the playoffs two out of the three years that I played there. Got traded to Cleveland for two years where I had another 1000 rushing yards. Then I got traded to the New York Giants and won a Super Bowl. The New England Patriots went 18 and 0 with one Giant loss!!

After I got done and retired from football, I went to Europe to coach a team in Serbian national team for one year. I had a great time, came back and got married and had kids and the story goes on from there.

JET: What are you involved in now?

RD: I advocate for Athletes for Care. We advocate for CBD’s … these don’t have the psychedelic effects. It’s basically for medicine, and yes, I advocate for that trying to get that in the NFL and get the opioids out. I do a little training for my daughter. I do agility training, but not much other than that. Life is good … retired in Centennial, Colorado and enjoying the weather out there.

Jerry Thompson
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from NBC Sports NW Video

If you would like to order the Ducks Illustrated Magazine or the 7-hour, 4-DVD set “Mighty Oregon” email ducksillustrated@yahoo.com or call/text 541.221.3154. Great gifts for any Duck fan!

Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.

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