Hooked - (Stacia Naquin)
Updated: 10/11/2013 - I'm SO CLOSE to being able to do a pull-up. So my trainer introduced something new into my training.
When Michael Pittman arrived in Denver, he told the coaches he'd do whatever was asked of him.
Little did he know they'd take him at his word.
After spending the last decade as an NFL tailback, Pittman has been moved to fullback for the Broncos.
He's not thrilled with the move, but he knows this: he'd rather be a lead blocker than a sideline spectator or even a former player.
So, he's biting his lip and looking for someone to hit.
"You can't be a one-dimensional player. A lot of one-dimensional players will leave a lot faster than the guy who can do a lot of different things," Pittman said. "I can run, I can catch and I can block. I think that's the reason why the Broncos brought me over here."
Pittman actually leads the team in carries in the preseason, but that's mostly a product of injuries.
At 6-foot and 225 pounds, Pittman isn't your prototypical fullback.
"I'm not a natural fullback but at the same time I'm stronger than most fullbacks," he said. "Physically, I go in there and I can slam into a linebacker. But I'm really a runner, that's what I do, coming out of the backfield and catch some balls.
"But I'll do whatever my coaches ask me to do. I won't complain about it. I'll just go out there and just do my job. Pound for pound, I'm probably one of the strongest guys on the team."
And that's why Andre Hall, one of three young tailbacks expected to share snaps this season along with Selvin Young and Anthony Alridge, loves running behind Pittman.
"Fullbacks are usually slower. They take longer to read. Pittman flies right in there, he hits whoever," Hall said. "That's my type. I like somebody that's just going to go all-out."
Pittman, who spent the last six seasons in Tampa Bay, hasn't tapped into the knowledge of his former teammate Mike Alstott about lead blocking.
"We talk about other things," Pittman said.
Despite his insistence that he'll do what he's asked, it's easy to tell Pittman would rather be getting the handoffs himself.
"I'll get in where I fit in," he said. "It's just an adjustment for me. It's just another step in my career. This is my 11th year and I'm excited to do a lot of new things. So, like I said, if the coach asks me to do it, I just go out there and I have fun doing it."
So, what does he enjoy about playing fullback?
"Well, probably just catching passes," Pittman said. "I really don't like lead blocking too much. But I go in there and I'll do it. Just catching passes. It's a mismatch, me against a linebacker 1-on-1. I can really take advantage of a linebacker.
"And physically, that's a mismatch too. Because physically they can't cover me. So, there's a lot of things I can bring to the table in the passing game. So, I will say just really coming out of the backfield."
And doing whatever's asked of him, without a complaint or a smile.
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