Former University of Colorado fullback Lawrence Vickers is in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys and his seventh in the NFL. Dallas has become the third team in which he has played for since he entered the league in 2006; being drafted in the sixth round by the Cleveland Browns.
After five successful years in Cleveland, Vickers signed with Houston where he started every game last season at fullback in his first and only season in the city he grew up in.
Vickers has made a name for himself as being one of the toughest players in the National Football League; a hard-nosed fullback always looking for a collision with a linebacker, or any player in his way for that matter.
"Of course, I can get in front of (a defender) and just block them, but I want to dominate all the time, whoever is in front of me," Vickers said. "I want to do the dirty work, I want to do the job that most people can't do, and most people can't play the fullback position, it's hard."
No one can deny Vickers' ability to obstruct any defender on a crash course path towards the ball carrier. While in Cleveland, Vickers opened up holes for Jamal Lewis to rush for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Then in Houston, he paved the way for another All-Pro running back in Arian Foster, who rushed for 1,509 yards in 2011.
Now, Vickers is not only continuing his prideful role as a fullback, but he is also making his way onto the stat line as a receiver and rusher for the Cowboys.
Last Sunday, Dallas went on the road to face Philadelphia in a divisional battle in which the Cowboys won 38-23. Typically the lead blocker in the ground game, Vickers served an even more valuable role in the contest with the Eagles as he had two receptions and two carries, accounting for 31 all-purpose yards in the victory.
"Anything they need from me," said Vickers to DallasCowboys.com earlier this season. "I'm just a whatever-you-need type of guy, a pure fullback, a versatile back, a motivator, whatever. I'm all about the team. Team is first with me."
Former Colorado head coach Gary Barnett first dubbed the position Vickers held as the 'V-back' with the 'V' referencing his immense versatility as an offensive player. Throughout his college days in Boulder, Vickers often lined up as the lone running back while also seeing several passes thrown his way, in addition to his blocking duties.
Barnett understood how much talent and athletic ability the 6-foot-2, 230-pound kid from Houston possessed. In his high school career at Forrest Brook, Vickers rushed for over 4,000 yards and 70 touchdowns, not to mention he averaged a double-double his senior year in basketball.
While Vickers is not quite putting up those numbers anymore, he has begun to see the ball in his hands more often this season. He has rushed the ball three times and has caught six passes for the Cowboys, gaining 57 total yards thus far.
It turns out that the Cowboys have been waiting for Vickers' services for a while now. Before the former Buffalo signed with Houston last season, the Cowboys made a push for him; however, the opportunity to play in his hometown where his parents still lived at the time was too tempting to pass up.
"We followed him last season and when he became available this season, we kind of made it a priority to get him," said Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete. "He's a physical, lead blocking fullback that I think if you want to be a power running team, you need to have a guy like that."
Now that Dallas has that guy, they are hoping to keep him for a while and keep winning games.
Notable: Justin Bannan recorded two tackles and a pass deflection in Denver's 36-14 victory at Carolina on Sunday; the Broncos are now 6-3 on the season... Jalil Brown recorded a tackle on Monday Night Football, however Kansas City fell in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers and former teammate Toney Clemons, who is on the Steelers' practice squad... Three of the four division leaders in the AFC Conference feature former Colorado football players in Baltimore with Jimmy Smith, New England with Nate Solder, and Denver with Bannan.