||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
No. 31, 37
|Date of birth:June 1, 1968|
|Place of birth: Tyler, Texas|
|College: Stephen F. Austin|
|NFL Draft: 1990 / Round: 5 / Pick: 115|
|Debuted in 1990 for the Arizona Cardinals|
|Last played in 2003 for the New England Patriots|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Larry Eugene Centers (born June 1, 1968) is a former American football fullback in the National Football League for 14 seasons, mostly for his first team, the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (1990–1998). Centers then played for the Washington Redskins (1999–2000), Buffalo Bills (2001–2002), and finally was a member of the New England Patriots for the (2003) season, when the team won their second Super Bowl.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1995, 1996, and 2001.
Centers played little league football during his elementary school years and advanced to the middle school and high school levels showing the talent which earned him a scholarship invitation to nearby Stephen F. Austin State University, among others, as he approached graduation from high school in Tatum, Texas.
Centers originally began his career at Stephen F. Austin as a wide receiver. He broke a finger on his left hand and switched position to running back. he was a two-time all-Southland Conference pick and set a school record for rushing yards in his senior season.
After graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University, Centers was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals in the 1990 NFL Draft. He saw limited playing time in his first two seasons but had an excellent season in his third year, rushing for 139 yards and catching 50 passes for 417 yards.
The role of the fullback as a ball carrier was starting to diminish as the NFL game evolved during the 1990s. Yet, Centers's offensive numbers only increased as the years went by, especially his receptions. He caught 66 passes in his third NFL season, then 77 the year after that. In 1995, Centers had one of the greatest seasons of any fullback, recording a whopping 101 receptions for 962 yards. As of 2010, the 101 receptions are the most in a single season for a running back. He also rushed for 254 yards, scored four touchdowns, and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. Unfortunately, his team was not successful despite his contributions; they finished the 1995 season with a 4-12 record. Centers had another spectacular season in 1996, recording 99 receptions for 766 yards and seven touchdowns, while also gaining a career high 425 yards, and he scored two touchdowns on the ground.
In 1996, Centers was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row, but once again his team had a disappointing season, finishing with a 7-9 record. Centers continued to be a major contributor to the Cardinals, recording 123 receptions and 386 rushing yards over the next two seasons. In his final year with Arizona (1998), the team had recorded a 9-7 record and made the playoffs as a wild card. The Cardinals made it all the way to the divisional playoffs before being eliminated in a 41-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
In 1999, Centers signed with the Redskins and had another superb season, recording 69 receptions. During a crucial game against the 49ers, Centers caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in overtime, which made the Redskins the NFC Eastern division champs for the first time since 1991. The Redskins finished the season with a 10-6 record but were eliminated in the divisional playoffs by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 14-13. The next year, 2000, was another fine Centers season for Washington's offense. He caught 81 passes for 600 yards, rushed for 103 yards, and used his blocking to help running back Stephen Davis achieve star numbers, 1,318 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. However, the Redskins recorded only an 8-8 record that year and did not make the playoffs.
In 2001, Centers signed with the Bills and made it to his third Pro Bowl appearance, catching another 80 passes, this time for a total of 620 yards, with 160 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
New England Patriots
After spending another year with Buffalo, Centers joined the Patriots in 2003. By this time, 35-year old Centers' role as a receiver (along with ball carrier) had greatly diminished. He recorded 19 receptions for 106 yards and rushed for 82 yards. Still, his blocking contributions as part of the Patriots offense allowed him to earn a Super Bowl ring; New England finished the season with a 14-2 record and went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Centers retired before the start of the 2004 season.
In his 14 NFL seasons, Centers rushed for 2,188 yards, caught 827 passes for 6,797 yards, returned five punts for 30 yards, returned 33 kickoffs for 617 yards and scored 42 touchdowns (14 rushing/28 receiving).
Centers's 827 receptions are currently the second most by any non-wide receiver in NFL history, with tight end Tony Gonzalez having surpassed his mark in 2008. Because NFL fullbacks are now almost exclusively used as blockers, Centers may be remembered as the greatest pass receiving fullback ever, and one of the last to be used as a ball carrier.
Centers has five children, Brittani, Larry II, Devin, Sydni, and Kennedi.
- "Notable Alumni - Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association". Sfaalumni.com. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "All-Time Draft". azcardinals.com. 1991-09-03. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- Darren Urban. "Word From the Birds Blog | Revisionist History: A playoff pounding in Dallas". Blog.azcardinals.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "Redskins Return to the Playoffs". Washingtonpost.com. 1999-12-27. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "Larry Centers Profile". Scout.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "Official Website of the New England Patriots | Team - History - Super Bowl XXXVIII". Patriots.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "Larry Centers - Fun Facts and Information". Funtrivia.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- Larry Centers (2012-08-24). "Larry Centers, FB at". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
- "Larry Centers". Football University. Retrieved 2012-09-03.