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I have been a follower of Niteowl’s players of the past articles about baseball so I decided to make my own spinoff series about football players from the past. The guys featured in this article may not always be the most well known or famous but they will all likely have at least one claim to fame. *Most of the players featured will be from long before the first player that I am featuring, the reason I chose to do this specific player first is because watching an old highlight of him is what inspired me to write this series so it is only fair that he is the first to be featured. So without any further ado the first player from the past to be featured is Natrone Means.
Natrone was born on April 26th 1972 in Harrisburg, North Carolina. He attended college at the University of North Carolina where he ran for 3074 yards and 34 touchdowns in three years. After back to back 1000 yard campaigns he decided to declare early for the NFL draft and was selected in the second round by the San Diego Chargers.
Natrone also had a decent rookie year in the NFL when he led the Chargers in rushing touchdowns with 8. Natrones big break came in his second year which was 1994. In this year he amasses 1350 yards which at the time was a Charger record (has since been broken multiple times by Ladanian Tomlinson) and he also added 12 touchdowns. The crowning achievement of the year however; was not individual stats (which gave him a spot in his first and only Pro Bowl) but it was the fact that he helped lead the Chargers to a Super Bowl appearance.
Although Natrone was looked at as having potential to become a new breed of running back in the NFL with his freakish size and great agility for such a big man his career went south after his great 1994 season. His downfall cannot be blamed all on himself since he had alot of issues with the injury bug starting in 1995 when he missed significant time with a hamstring and after that he never was able to go an entire season without injury and he left the Chargers in 1996 to play with the Jaguars and then returned to the Chargers in 1998. He played two more years with the Chargers before leaving and signing with the Panthers in 2000. He retired after the 2000 season. Natrone is currently the offensive coordinator of Livingstone college in North Carolina.
Natrone was a big bruiser (5-10, 245) that may have been better suited to come into the league in todays day and age where most teams prefer to run a two back system. He is a player who will likely be forgotten by many because of his short career and average career statistics (1409 carries, 5215 yards, 3.7 yard average, and 45 touchdowns) but will be remembered by a few by how much power he ran with and how much agility he showed for such a big man (think Jerome Bettis in terms of foot speed).
I hope you enjoyed reading about a player from the past that I personally enjoyed watching. As long as I have a few readers that would like me to continue I plan on writing about 1 of these a week so please tell me if you enjoy reading it and also if there is anything you would like me to change.