The fullback position is one that many young NFL fans may not be familiar with, since teams don’t often utilize it often in the 2020s. But there was a time when the fullback may have been a jack-of-all-trades, and in some cases, a master of a few trades. Such was the case with Larry Centers, who played for the Arizona Cardinals between 1990 and 1998.
Centers remains one of the game’s all-time greats at the position, but nearly 20 years following his final snap with the New England Patriots, he has yet to see himself enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although Centers only made three Pro Bowls and had one All-Pro season, his sheer numbers prove he’s worthy of stepping onto pro football’s most coveted stage.
During his time with the Cardinals, Centers was one of the team’s most sure-handed targets, amassing 535 receptions for 4,539 yards, 8.5 yards per catch, and 19 receiving touchdowns. He snagged 101 catches in 1995 out of 119 targets, good for an 84.9 catch percentage, before following up with 99 in 1996.
Former Arizona Cardinals fullback deserves to be in the Hall
Remember, this took place before the NFL was such a passing league, making Centers’ accomplishments across those two seasons even more special. But he wasn’t just a good pass-catcher whose numbers rivaled some of the game’s better receivers; Centers also proved to be a good short-yardage back, rushing for 80 first downs between 1994 when the stat was first recorded per Pro-Football-Reference and 1998.
Overall, Centers totaled 6,275 yards from scrimmage as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, 6.0 yards per touch, and 29 touchdowns. After leaving Arizona, Centers remained a sound pass-catcher, recording another 292 receptions during his time in Washington, Buffalo, and New England.
Given how the fullback position was starting to backslide into that of a lead blocker role in the 1990s and 2000s before it disappeared from some NFL rosters, it’s clear Centers was one of the most, if not the most productive fullback of the era.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)