John Fitzgerald (center)

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John Fitzgerald
No. 62
Position:Center
Personal information
Born: (1948-04-16) April 16, 1948 (age 71)
Southbridge, Massachusetts
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school:Southbridge (MA)
College:Boston College
NFL Draft:1970 / Round: 4 / Pick: 101
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:137
Games started:108
Fumble recoveries:6
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

John Robert Fitzgerald (born April 16, 1948) is a former American football center in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1970 NFL Draft. He played college football at Boston College

Early years[edit]

Fitzgerald attended Southbridge High School, where he started as a 315 lb fullback. He also competed in the shot put.

He accepted a football scholarship from Boston College, where he became a two-way tackle, playing both offense and defense during his three-year varsity career.

In 1982, he was inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame.

Professional career[edit]

Fitzgerald was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round (101st overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. The team played him first as a defensive tackle, before trying him at different offensive line positions. He was waived before the start of the season on September 2.[1] He was later signed to the taxi squad.

In 1971, he was a backup at offensive guard. In 1972, he was converted into a center during training camp and was the backup behind Dave Manders.

In 1973, he took over the starting position from Manders, at the time, he was taller than the prototype center.[2] In 1974, he missed 2 games, but was able to start most of the season while limited with an injured knee and an injured elbow.

In 1975, head coach Tom Landry re-introduced to the NFL the shotgun formation. Fitzgerald took great pride in making it work, with his ability to snap the ball 7 yards back without looking.[3]

In 1977, he missed 2 games with knee and ankle injuries. He re-injured the knee during a practice in December, but still managed to play throughout the playoffs. In 1978, he missed 2 games while battling through ankle, shoulder and back spams problems.

In 1979, Fitzgerald named the offensive line as the "Four Irishmen and a Scott", referring to himself, Pat Donovan, Jim Cooper, Tom Rafferty and Herb Scott.

In 1980, he missed 2 regular season games and 3 playoff contests with shoulder and knee injuries. Robert Shaw was his replacement.

On August 31, 1981, he was placed on the injured reserve list, he was i.[4] On January 11, 1982, he announced his retirement due to injuries and Tom Rafferty being already entrenched at the starting center position.

Fitzgerald never appeared in a Pro Bowl, but still became a central part of a strong offensive line in Dallas for most of the decade.[5] He helped the Cowboys win 2 Super Bowl championships and make playoff appearances every season except one during his time. He played in 138 games over 10 NFL seasons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  2. ^ "Once-Poweful Cowboys Face Big Rebuilding Year". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  3. ^ "Cowboy Recalls First Trigger". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "Cockroft, Pastorini go in final cutdown". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "The No-all-pro Team". Sports Illustrated. September 1, 1982. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2019.

External links[edit]