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What's the Future of Fullbacks in the NFL? "Hopefully Just Around," Says Miller

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What's the Future of Fullbacks in the NFL? "Hopefully Just Around," Says Miller

49ers fullback Bruce Miller. Photo by Brian Carriveau of Cheesehead TV.

NEW ORLEANS––The Green Bay Packers might be held up as a microcosm of what's happening to the fullback position in the NFL.

Just two years ago, when they won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, the Packers kept three fullbacks on their roster for a second consecutive year to the shock of fans and NFL observers. They even used defensive lineman B.J. Raji as the occasional bulldozer.

Today, they're down to just one, John Kuhn. Following that Super Bowl victory, they allowed Korey Hall to walk away via free agency to the New Orleans Saints and then traded away Quinn Johnson to the Tennessee Titans.

It's basically the same scene across the rest of the league, most teams keeping a solitary fullback on the roster, some not having one at all and very few with multiple fullbacks.

The 49ers, who eliminated the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs, are lucky to have one of the better fullbacks in the NFL in Bruce Miller.

When asked his thoughts on the future of the fullback in professional football, Miller didn't exactly give a ringing endorsement as to his position's prospects.

"Hopefully just around," said Miller with a chuckle. "Hopefully they don't cut it. I'm not really sure. I think I've done okay, so if I continue to grow and get better, I don't think they'll let me go anywhere."

Meanwhile in Green Bay, the Packers enter an offseason wondering what they'll do at the running back position, both with their fullback and halfbacks.

Kuhn was elected to his first Pro Bowl following the 2011 season and was named to the NFL Network's annual Top 100 list of the best players in the league this past offseason as well.

He also gained notoriety and folklore status in Green Bay as evidenced by the Lambeau Field faithful screaming "Kuuuuuhn" every time he touches the football. And it hasn't hurt that he's also scored more touchdowns than the typical fullback the past few seasons, six in each of 2010 and 2011.

The touchdowns didn't come in 2012, however. Kuhn scored only one during the regular season, although he did memorably find the end zone twice in the Packers' victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

No matter what happens with the fullback position in Green Bay, Miller probably doesn't have a whole lot of sympathy.

While he made his comments in jest, Miller made it clear he's looking out for No. 1.

"I don't really care as long as the Niners don't get rid of it," said Miller. "Everyone else can get rid of it."

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MarkinMadison's picture

I guess Miller either doesn't have another contract in him, or he hasn't thought through the fact that if no one else in the NFL is using fullbacks then he has to take whatever offer the 49ers put in front of him or find a new line of work.

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