Chiefs' Sherman relishes unselfish role of today's fullback
NFL fullback is not the glamour position it once was, but Chiefs' Anthony Sherman loves it just the same
By JEFFREY FLANAGANFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Chiefs fullback
Anthony Sherman pulled in a swing pass Sunday and rumbled into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, there was no way he was going to lose track of the ball. He didn't spike it or toss it in the air, but rather clutched it all the way back to the sideline.
After all, it was the first NFL touchdown for Sherman, now in his third season in the league and first with the Chiefs.
And Sherman knew he could now fulfill a promise he made to his mother.
"I said if I ever scored a touchdown, she would get the ball," he said.
Sherman said the ball likely will go right next to the last football he gave his mother -- the ball with which he scored his one and only college touchdown at Connecticut.
Sherman has no problems remembering that score.
"It was Senior Day against Cincinnati," he said, smiling. "I do remember the play. It was the only (touchdown) I had in college. It was a wheel route in the flat and I ended up getting in."
Sherman plans to give the ball to his mom at her home in North Attleboro, Mass., during the bye week after Sunday's game at Buffalo.
"I've got four younger sisters, so who knows what might happen to it," he said. "But it should go next to the other one on a shelf in the living room."
That the glory of scoring a touchdown comes so rarely for Sherman doesn't seem to bother him. He knows his role in this generation's version of the fullback, a position that has evolved into more of a hybrid tight end who lines up in the backfield.
Today's fullback position hardly resembles the one played by his idols growing up -- Mike Alstott and Larry Csonka.
"I'm OK with that," Sherman said, shrugging his shoulders. "It has changed, but it is still a necessary position in the offense."
Sherman was prepared for the position's unglamorous role the minute he landed at Connecticut. He was a prolific runner in high school at North Attleboro, rushing for 1,202 yards as a senior while scoring 20 touchdowns.
But at Connecticut, he ran just 17 times for 61 yards.
"It's just almost a position (a running fullback), even in college football, that is going by the wayside," Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said.
Indeed, there is infinitely more emphasis placed on playmakers in today's game, which leaves little opportunity for 5-foot-10, 242-pound bruisers such as Sherman to get touches.
Sherman has not carried the ball once yet for the Chiefs, and his only NFL carry came two years ago for the Cardinals. He gained three yards. The Chiefs acquired Sherman last off-season for cornerback Javier Arenas.
"He does remind me that he doesn't have a carry," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, smiling.
Actually, though, Sherman said he doesn't really mind.
"I don't worry about that stuff," he said. "I know what my role is. I'm happy to be paving the way for guys like Jamaal (Charles) to get 100 yards, or just picking up a blitz or stuff like that. That's what's important."
At least Sherman knows his work is appreciated.
"He's like having another offensive lineman out there," guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz said. "He can pound away with the big boys."
Perhaps no one appreciates Sherman's work more than Charles.
"It's great having him in front of me," Charles said. "He's just an unselfish guy."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.