When you think of the amazing runners of the Pittsburgh Steelers you may think Jerome Bettis, Franco Harris, Willie Parker, hell even Le’Veon Bell from more recent memory.
The odd part is that none of those guys hold the Steelers single season rushing mark with 1,690 yards. The man who did it was none other than Barry Foster.
Let’s get to know a little bit about Barry’s path to the NFL.
Barry Foster was born December 8th 1968 in Hurst, Texas a fort worth Dallas suburb.
He attended Duncanville high school in Duncanville Texas where he led the Panthers to back-to-back district champions in 1986 and 1987.
Barry then went on to Arkansas where he helped contribute to back-to-back southwest conference championships in 1988 and 1989.
After a good junior year Foster decided to ultimately head straight into NFL. Let’s jump to the year 1990.
Super Mario 3 would just be hitting shelves in north America, Cameron Hayward would still be wearing diapers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers would select Barry Foster in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
Barry’s first years in the NFL weren’t exactly pretty. he’d become known for his blunders and was similar to modern-day Steelers receiver Dante Moncrief.
In 1991, foster had the mishap of not returning a kickoff with the thought that it could be downed like a punt. But Foster did not let the rough Pittsburgh fan base and media cast a permanent cloud over him.
In 1992, Barry Foster set the Steelers franchise rushing record mark with the most yards rushing in a season ever. 30+ years later and that mark has not been matched.
Under the new head coach Bill Cower, Foster ran for 1,690 yards 11 touchdowns and 36 catches for 344 yards – 2,034 yards total. Keep in mind this is 1992 and dual-threat running backs were hard to come by.
1992 saw Foster earn an An All-Pro season, Pro Bowl appearance, and the AFC’s rushing crown.
Despite his rocky start he paved his own path to success, setting a mark in one of the most decorated franchises in NFL history.
In 1993, Foster charged forward for a potentially better season before getting injured nine games in. He had 711 yards rushing, eight touchdowns and 27 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown. But injuries cost him the rest of the season.
1994 was another year plagued by injuries. Foster still gained 851 yards in 11 games but again was unable to put together a full season. Which ultimately led to his final game; the 1994 AFC Championship Game. His final game as a Steelers and as an NFL player.
After that the Steelers traded foster to the Carolina Panthers where he would never play a game there after failing a physical. Even the Bengals would try to sign him but he was done at that point.
A career plagued by injuries but a legendary career nonetheless, all by age 26.
Foster was a fifth round pick but he overcame the noise and put together one of the most prolific seasons in Pittsburgh Steelers history.
A man who doesn’t get enough recognition in the Pittsburgh history books in my opinion.
For his career, he carried the football 915 times for 3,943 yards, a 4.3-yard per carry average, caught 93 passes for 804 receiving yards, scored 28 touchdowns, and went to 2 Pro-Bowls.
His 1,690 rushing yards in 1992 is still the Steelers single season rushing record. Foster was known in the 90’s as “The NFL’s Other Barry.”, a reference to himself and Barry Sanders.
Since Foster retired from the NFL, he became the running backs coach at DeLay Middle School and is currently an Assistant Principal at Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas.
I really just wanted to take a little time and recognize one of Pittsburgh’s finest backs and inform the generation that may not even know of him.
If anyone has any awesome memories or information about him feel free to drop in the comments below