Robert Seale for USA WEEKEND
For many a pigskin fan, having Houston Texans star running back Arian Foster show up at a tailgate would be a fantasy football dream come true. That’s just what happened this year when Foster surprised an enthusiastic group at the spring Orange and White Game at alma mater University of Tennessee (where he holds the all-time record for rushing attempts).
“I don’t get to tailgate very often because I have to be preparing for the game,” says 27-year-old Foster, who’s known among teammates and fans for celebrating every touchdown with his signature Namaste bow. “Tailgating is good for the sport. It makes the day about more than just the football game. And it brings the hometown fans closer and gives the visiting fans a chance to mingle with the home crowd.”
Indeed, tailgating is huge in Houston. “People are very proud of their barbecue and very proud of their tailgating here,” says Foster, who abides by a mostly plant-based diet because it makes him feel better. But show him a nicely prepared steak or grilled chicken, and he’ll be all over it. “When meat is cooked well, with just the right amount of smoke and so that the juices stay in, it’s hard to turn down.”