Amos Zereoué

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Amos Zereoué
Amos Zereoue cropped.jpg
No. 21, 28, 31
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1976-10-08) October 8, 1976 (age 37)
Place of birth: Côte d'Ivoire
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: West Virginia
NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 95
Debuted in 1999 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Last played in 2005 for the New England Patriots
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards 2,137
Average 3.9
Rushing TDs 10
Stats at NFL.com

Amos Zereoué (born October 8, 1976 in Côte d'Ivoire[1][2]) is a former American football player in the National Football League, who last played for the New England Patriots. During his college career Zereoué played for West Virginia University before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 95th pick of the 1999 NFL Draft.

He now owns and operates a restaurant in Manhattan, New York, called Zereoué.[3]

High school years[edit]

Zereoué was raised by a single father in Hempstead, New York; he lived in a group home called "Hope for Youth", in Bellmore, NY, during his high school years, owing to legal trouble in junior high school and the concerns of his father that the drugs and crime of the neighborhood he grew up in were undermining his ambition.[4]

Zereoué attended Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore, New York and was a letterman in football. Zereoué set Long Island records of 5,360 yards and 59 touchdowns at Mepham, earning Street & Smith All-America recognition. He was also the first two-time Thorpe Award winner in high school, which recognizes the best player in Nassau County, an honor that surpassed accomplished local icons such as Jim Brown and Matt Snell.[4]

College career[edit]

Freshman (1996)[edit]

Amos Zereoué was a late addition to the West Virginia University roster in 1996, but made an immediate impact. On Zereoué's first collegiate carry, he rushed the ball for a 69-yard touchdown against Pitt.[3] In that same season, Zereoué finished the season with two of the school's five-best single-game rushing performances (234 yards against Notre Dame and 228 yards against Rutgers). He was unanimously voted the Big East Rookie of the Year after the season and was a first-team all-Big East selection. He also set a West Virginia freshman rushing record for a season with 1,035 rushing yards, which was later broken by his successor, Avon Cobourne (who broke Zereoue's career rushing records as well).

Sophomore (1997)[edit]

Zereoué was tenth in the 1997 Heisman Trophy race and was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist. He was a third-team All-American selection and was voted all-Big East and first-team All-ECAC selection as well. Zereoué also led the conference and set a school single-season rushing record with 1,589 yards on 281 carries. His 18 touchdowns on the season was one shy of the WVU record. He was ranked third on the season with 150 yards per game.

Junior (1998)[edit]

He was also a second-team All-American selection in 1998 by leading the team with 1,462 yards and 13 touchdowns on 283 carries. He was also ranked sixth in the nation with 143 yards per game in '98.

College stats[edit]

During his college career he rushed for over 100 yards 21 times, had seven straight games with over 100 yards rushing - averaging 123.8 yards per game during his career. At the time of leaving, he held the all-time WVU rushing yardage with 4,086 and held the record at WVU for the most yards in a season with 1,589 in 1997. Both records were broken by his successor at running back, Avon Cobourne. While at WVU Zereoué's nickname was "Famous Amos".

Professional career[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers (1999-2003)[edit]

Zereoué was selected in the third round, 95th overall of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had acquired future-Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis from the St. Louis Rams four years earlier in 1996. Zereoué got good playing time in his five seasons in Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2003. His best season came in 2002, when he rushed for a career-high 762 yards and four touchdowns. Also in 2002, Zereoué caught a career-high 42 receptions for 341 yards. In his years in Pittsburgh, Zereoué rushed for 1,698 yards and seven touchdowns.

Oakland Raiders (2004)[edit]

After the 2003 season, Zereoué was cut by the Steelers. He was then signed as a free-agent by the Oakland Raiders. Tyrone Wheatley ended up getting the starting job for 2004, but Zereoué saw time on the field as well. He rushed for 425 yards and three touchdowns in his one season in Oakland, before he was cut with the arrival of LaMont Jordan from the New York Jets.

New England Patriots (2005)[edit]

After being cut by the Raiders, Zereoué spent his final NFL season with the New England Patriots. He spent time playing backup to veteran Corey Dillon, but he only ran the ball seven times on the season for 14 yards. Zereoué then was cut by the Patriots as well, and eventually retired.

In his seven-year career, Amos Zereoué rushed for 2,137 yards with 10 touchdowns. He caught 137 receptions for 1,111 yards and a touchdown. He also had seven kick returns for 169 yards.

Post-football[edit]

Zereoué restaurant interior, 2008.

Zereoué opened an African/French restaurant in Manhattan called Zereoué. The restaurant is located at 13 East 37th Street (between 5th and Madison) in New York City.[3][5]

Zereoué also keeps fit by playing for the first team of the well known NYC amateur soccer club Central Park Rangers FC, using his athletic skills to transition to a top scorer for the flagship team of the club.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amos Zereoue". Nfl.com. 1976-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  2. ^ "Amos Zereoue - Official New England Patriots Biography". Patriots.com. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  3. ^ a b c Hertzel, Bob (June 20, 2009). "WVU's Famous Amos cooks up a new career". TimesWV.com. Times West Virginian. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Amos Zereoue's Achievements". Ia.wvu.edu. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  5. ^ "Official site of the Pittsburgh Steelers - Article". News.steelers.com. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ Coffey, Wayne (December 19, 2009). "With a passion for soccer and food, Amos Zereoue is not your typical former NFL player". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 30, 2012.