While watching the NY Giants this past Monday, I was alarmed that the Jints couldn’t handle a fella in the Chargers’ back field. No, it wasn’t a surprise that Ladainian Tomlinson jitter-bugged his way around would be tacklers, what was alarming to me was how many Giant defenders fullback Lorenzo Neal was hammering, sometimes swatting them away like flies. When I think of great fullbacks in the history of the NFL, I think of Larry Csonka, Rocky Blier, Darryl "Moose" Johnston… but how about adding Lorenzo Neal to that group. For eight consecutive years now Lorenzo has cleared the way for his tailbacks to have 1000 Yard seasons. And over the past six they have had no fewer than 1300 Yards a season. Yes, a couple of the tailbacks Lorenzo has paired with over the streak have been top flight rushers—Ladainian Tomlinson and Corey Dillon probably would have rushed for 1000 Yards no matter who was blocking for them— but, what about Adrian Murrell and Warrick Dunn? Eddie George had the best season of his career (2000) with Lorenzo leveling some of the toughest linebackers and safeties in the league. It may be no coincidence that the year after Neal left Tennessee Eddie George failed to reach the grand mark.
Entering his 13th season Lorenzo has appeared in 179 straight games (as of week three-2005). More impressive, is the fact that Lorenzo seems to limit the wear and tear on his tailbacks- since beginning his games played streak, all tailbacks who have teamed with him also have played in every game.
Neal was actually the number two all-time rusher in Fresno State history when he left after the 1992 season. But, at 5’11 and 255 lbs. Neal was a ready-made fullback when he entered the NFL with the Saints, who grabbed him with the 4th round pick of the 1993 draft. Lorenzo probably would have 11 consecutive seasons with a 1000 yard backfield mate if the Saints hadn’t decided to split carries between Mario Bates, Ray Zellers and Derek Brown during his four years with the club. Lorenzo appeared in his only Super Bowl for the Tennessee Titans in 2000 and made his first Pro-Bowl in 2002 with the Cincinnati Bengals. When asked recently who he thought was the best fullback in NFL history and who was the greatest tailback he has ever blocked for, Neal replied, "I’m blocking for a great running back now. Corey Dillon and Eddie George were great, too… They’re all amazing in my eyes. As far as the best fullback… I used to love watching Larry Csonka. I think the best fullback that I really emulated my play after was Daryl ‘Moose’ Johnston…". So, without further ado I give the Cabbie Shout-Out of the week to Lorenzo Neal, "LORENZOooooooooo!!"
The Running Backs Lorenzo Neal Has Blocked For Over The Past 8 Seasons:
Year G R YDS TDS Team
2004 Ladainian Tomlinson 16 339 1335 17 Chargers
2003 Ladianian Tomlinson 16 313 1645 13 Chargers
2002 Corey Dillon 16 340 1315 10 Bengals
2001 Corey Dillon 16 314 1311 7 Bengals
2000 Eddie George 16 403 1509 14 Titans
1999 Eddie George 16 320 1304 9 Titans
1998 Warrick Dunn 16 245 1026 2 Buccaneers
1997 Adrian Murrell 16 300 1086 7 Jets
Carl the Cabbie