Chris Howard (American football)
|Date of birth:May 5, 1975|
|NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 5 / Pick: 153
(By the Denver Broncos)
|Debuted in 1998|
|Last played in 2000|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at DatabaseFootball.com|
Christopher L. "Chris" Howard (born May 5, 1975) is a retired professional American football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Howard had been drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 1998 NFL Draft. His professional football career was haunted by fumble troubles, which caused the Broncos to release him before he played a regular season game for them. Howard began to have fumble problems again when the Jaguars acquired and promoted him to a role as a regular player.
He had previously played for the Michigan Wolverines football team where in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season, his final year at Michigan, they won a National Championship. Howard led the National Champion 1997 Michigan Wolverines football team in rushing and was a Hula Bowl MVP in 1998. Chris attended Louisiana high school football powerhouse, John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, Louisiana. He was formerly married to Gabrielle Union.
Howard was born in Kenner, Louisiana. He enrolled at Michigan after playing for Louisiana High School football powerhouse John Curtis Christian High School. John Curtis won its 22nd Louisiana High School Athletic Association state football championship in 2007, and all of them have come since the first in 1975. However, there has been a history of controversy over whether the school steers its students away from the Louisiana State University Tigers football team to other football programs. Howard is one of thirteen Curtis alumni to make it to the NFL. Only three of those alumni attended LSU.
In four years at Michigan from 1994 to 1997, he totaled 1876 yards rushing on 418 carries and added 429 yards receiving on 60 receptions. He totaled nine 100-yard rushing efforts for Michigan including four during the 1997 championship season. In college, his biggest rushing effort was 127 yards against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 1996. However, he once rushed for 109 yards and 4 touchdowns against the UCLA Bruins. In addition, Howard also posted the fourth longest rush in school history, an 86-yard rush.
In 1996, he had five 100-yard games despite only playing in ten games as a junior. He totaled 725 yards rushing and ten touchdowns in the ten games. However, he was second on the team in rushing to sophomore Clarence Williams who tallied 837 yards in 12 games.
In the 1997 championship season, he was the rushing leader for a fundamentally sound undefeated 12–0 Michigan team that did not have a 1000-yard rusher or 500-yard receiver. The team emphasized defense behind 1997 Heisman Trophy winning defensive back Charles Woodson. Howard totaled 938 yards rushing on 199 carries and 276 yards receiving on 37 receptions. He was second on the team in scoring to placekicker Kraig Baker with 7 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown. He was complemented in the backfield by freshman Anthony Thomas who added 549 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.
One of the key games in Michigan's 1997 National Championship season was the game against the unbeaten Penn State Nittany Lions, then ranked Number 2 in the nation. Howard rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Nittany Lions, prompting Coach Lloyd Carr to comment: "I think that Chris Howard is a very underrated back. He proved that today." Michigan controlled the game and led 34–0 after 3 quarters behind Howard’s best collegiate performance in terms of yards from scrimmage with 120 yards rushing and 41 yards receiving.
He was also the North MVP for the 1998 edition of the Hula Bowl, an invitational college football all-star game. He rushed for 116 yards on 14 carries and was involved in the culminating score in the North’s second half comeback. He handed off to Joe Jurevicius on a reverse play which ended with Jurevicius passing to Brian Griese for a five-yard touchdown pass. The North would lose, however, when the missed extra point left the door open for a game winning field goal.
Howard was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 1998 NFL Draft, but he had a difficult pre-season with the Broncos in 1998, fumbling five times in two games. The Broncos released him from their practice squad in September 1998, and he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. At the time, Jacksonville Coach Tom Coughlin said: "Chris Howard is a young man and he certainly still is developmental. A couple weeks into our system and I think he'll be a guy who can be counted on. But I'm not going to say we're done with our evaluations just yet." Coughlin said of Howard's fumbles with Denver: "It was carelessness. Basically, we'll start from scratch with him fundamentally here." Howard had professional totals of 123 yards rushing on 41 carries and 37 yards receiving on five receptions. In 2000, his final year, he fumbled twice on only 21 carries in the first two games. These were his final two career NFL games.
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