The Cowboys’ proud lineage of productive fullbacks reads thusly:
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No, they didn’t abandon the running game after Moose’s retirement in ’99. It only seems that way. Because that’s when the impressive list of lead blockers hit a brick wall of anonymity.
Since Johnston stopped blowing open holes for Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys have rifled through forgettable fullbacks such as Robert Thomas, Troy Hambrick, Darian Barnes, Deon Anderson, Chris Gronkowski, Shaun Chapas, Tony Fiammetta, Lawrence Vickers and Tyler Clutts. Each has experienced a varying level of non-success.
The position was in such a disarray that the Cowboys at one time gave up on full-breed fullbacks for a sort of tight-end hybrid, employing the likes of John Phillips as lead blocker.
But apparently Clutts is good enough to at least keep the gig, because on Monday the Cowboys signed him to a one-year contract and released his main competition, free-agent Jed Collins.
Clutts played in all 16 games last year, helping open holes for DeMarco Murray’s NFL-leading 1,845 rushing yards. He also caught a touchdown in Dallas’ playoff loss in Green Bay.
I’m not saying it’s time to etch Clutts after Johnston, but at least the Cowboys feel they have a reliable incumbent at an important position.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.