Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where You At?: Chris Howard Edition

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The Where You At? series returns with a new, cat-free logo. Today's edition takes a look at the post-Michigan career of running back Chris Howard.

It seems somewhat ironic that in an era of superstar Michigan running backs (Wheatley, Biakabutuka, Thomas, Perry, Hart) the running back who started for the 1997 National Champs was relatively unspectacular. Since 1990, there have been only five seasons in which Michigan did not produce a 1000-yard rusher. Two of those seasons came when Chris Howard was in his junior and senior campaigns, and in 1997 (his senior year) he was the feature back in Michigan's offense.

I am not claiming that Howard was a poor back. Far from it, in fact. However, almost every feature back before and after him was a first-day NFL Draft Pick (and the one that wasn't, Mike Hart, is Michigan's all-time leading rusher). Because of this, Howard is the forgotten back of the Lloyd Carr era, despite anchoring the ground game for the 1997 champs.

Howard came to Michigan from the Louisiana powerhouse John Curtis Christian High School, which has produced 13 NFL players. Buried on the depth chart behind Tyrone Wheatley and Tim Biakabutuka, Howard saw little action in his first two seasons. After Biakabutuka left early for the NFL in 1995, Howard and sophomore Clarence Williams split the running back duties in 1996. Although he only started two games, Howard amassed 725 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground, and ran for over 100 yards in five of his ten games.

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The forgotten Wolverine running back goes off tackle against Ohio State in 1997.

Howard beat out Williams for the starting running back spot in 1997, although he was still pushed for carries by Williams and true freshman Anthony Thomas. Howard rose to the challenge, tallying four more 100-yard games en route to rushing for 938 yards and seven touchdowns. Against Penn State, in the biggest game of his career to that point, Howard 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against the then-#3 team in the country. Michigan crushed the Nittany Lions, 34-8, in a game that would vault them to #1 spot in the polls. The rest, as they say, is history.

After winning North team MVP honors in the 1998 Hula Bowl (116 yards on 14 carries), Howard was taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. His career in the Mile-High City didn't last long, however, as Howard was released after fumbling five times in two preseason games. The Jaguars picked up Howard two weeks into the 1998 season after James Stewart went down with a torn ACL, and Coach Tom Coughlin looked to fix Howard's fumbling issues:
''It was carelessness,'' Coughlin said of Howard's fumbles. ''Basically, we'll start from scratch with him fundamentally here.''
Unfortunately, Howard was stuck deep in the Jaguars depth chart. In three seasons, he only carried the ball 41 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. He never got a start until his third season in Jacksonville. That year, Howard appeared in the first two games, fumbled twice, and never saw NFL action again.

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Tuck it, Chris, TUCK IT!

Although his NFL career was brief, Howard took full advantage of his time in the league. At a 1999 party in Jacksonville, he met actress Gabrielle Union, who you may know from being in such movies as "10 Things I Hate About You", "Love and Basketball", "The Others", and, um, others. You may also know her from being very, very attractive. Howard and Union married in 2001, a major coup for a guy who only spent three years in the NFL.

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Chris Howard, clearly still stunned at how damn lucky he is.

Unfortunately, Howard and Union divorced in 2005, which led to this quote from a People Magazine article:
Last June, while promoting her role in The Honeymooners, Union lightheartedly expressed some complaints about her husband, saying: "He never hangs his clothes up. I'm the kind of person whose clothes are all hung up and color-coordinated, to the point where my whites don't touch my creams. And he thinks that he can just stick things in the dishwasher – apparently the dishwasher is magic. Oh, and he leaves the toilet seat up. I guess all the things you have to get used to about living with a guy."
Wait, you can't just stick things in the dishwasher? Sometimes I cram my head in there and put it on the "Pots and Pans" setting before hitting the town. Works like a charm.

Since the divorce, Howard has gone underground (at least by Google search standards). Still, from what I've read, the guy is living a pretty charmed life. Four years at Michigan, a National Title, three seasons in the NFL, and four years of Gabrielle Union. Not a bad decade by anyone's standards.

Chris Howard (Wikipedia)
Statistics Archive (MGoBlue)
Jaguars: Stewart goes on IR; Howard takes his spot (Jacksonville.com)
Chris Howard Statistics (Pro-Football-Reference.com)
Gabrielle Union, Husband Split (People)
Gabrielle Union (imdb.com)

6 comments:

Mikey said...

Chris Howard is an idiot at this point....not at his years at Michigan of course. I would give up my left nut to be with Gabrielle Union...

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, Guys... I have a question. Two days ago I had fun with this site:
[url=http://www.rivalspot.com]Rivalspot.com - Play Ps3 tournaments for cash[/url]
They say you can play online sports game tournaments on any console for cash... had anyone tried that before? Looks like a cool idea...
Are there any other sites where you can play sports games for real moneys? I Googled and found only Bringit.com and Worldgaming.com but it looks these guys don't specialize in sport gamez. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, Guys... I have a question. Last week I found this site:
[url=http://www.rivalspot.com]Rivalspot.com - Wii tournaments for money[/url]
They say you can play online NHL game tournaments on any console for cash... had anyone tried that before? Looks like a cool idea...
Are there any other sites where you can play sports games for real moneys? I Googled and found only Bringit.com and Worldgaming.com but it looks these guys don't specialize in sport gamez. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

PS3 backwards compatibility to PS2 games gone for good...

Anonymous said...

My friend has a playstation 3 and another one of my friends games got stuck in the system. How do you get the disk out? It won't eject the disk no matter what and of coarse, it won't let any other disks come in. How do you lift the cover or even get the disk out? Nothing came up on the playstation website so please give me lots of info.

C said...

A friend of mine showed me this site and I found it very amusing. Well I'm Chris Howard and I'm the Managing Partner of Production company based in Atlanta Georgia and I'm doing well for myself as a business man and producer. As far as my football career goes all I can say is I had a opportunity to live out my dream and I'm proud to say that. Not sure if some of you can say the same.

@Mikey - Clearly you've never been with a beautiful successful woman because your the type of man who would give up his manhood to be with one. I would never sacrifice my integrity to boast about who I'm married to. Beautiful women come and go but maybe not in your case. So I would be careful who you call a idiot, or you can continue to make comments and hide behind the internet. Have a great day gentleman.